Dean Smith and Claudio Ranieri would be right to feel like their hands are tied by the inferiority of their talent as Norwich City and Watford contend to keep their places in the Premier League.
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Both bosses sound equally baffled as to what they — or anyone — could do to fix their sides without bringing in new players.
And with Norwich dead last on 10 points, Watford 17th with 13, and Newcastle and Burnley both arguably better suited to improve performances and results, what can be done to lift the spirits at the roads Carrow and Vicarage?
Especially considering neither club looks likely to take points off anyone but each other.
Smith did not sugarcoat Norwich’s position in addressing his players after Game No. 19 of a 38-match season.
“I just told the players the half-term report: it’s not good enough and it needs to be better,” Smith said. “If they want to maintain any kind of semblance of a Premier League team, we have to turn it around very quickly. It doesn’t help we only have ten senior players.”
And Ranieri, whose men seem to be in position to make stops but just don’t, is reaching for words. No coach would have them for organizing a side that fails to deliver on said organization at all.
At least they had a lead?
“The positives were the start and that we never gave up, we tried until the end but of course we must learn to make the right decisions individually and as a team,” Ranieri said. “We have to talk together to find the right solution.”
That solution is better players, although there’s a chance that Watford just uses the holiday season tor renew its Manager of the Month membership.
Premier League table: Bottom five (Full table)
16. Leeds — 16 points through 18 matches
17. Watford — 13 points through 17 matches
18. Burnley — 11 points through 15 matches
19. Newcastle — 11 points through 19 matches
20. Norwich City — 10 points through 19 matches
Premier League bottom five fixtures through January (Full list)
16. Leeds — vs BUR (Sun), at WHU, vs NEW
17. Watford — vs TOT (Sat.), at NEW, vs NOR
18. Burnley — at MUN (Thursday), at LEE, vs LEI, at ARS
19. Newcastle — at EVE (Thursday), at SOU, vs WAT, at LEE
20. Norwich City — at LEI (Sat.), vs EVE, at WAT
Premier League bottom five fixtures matches to be rescheduled (Full list)
16. Leeds — at Liverpool
17. Watford — at Wolves, vs Palace, at Burnley
18. Burnley — vs Watford, at Villa, vs Everton
19. Newcastle — None
20. Norwich City — None