Albert Einstein is widely attributed with saying: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
This is Sheffield Wednesday on the pitch right now. They are not learning from their errors. They keep making the same mistakes time and time again.
And the fans are fast losing patience with head coach Carlos Carvalhal and his under-performing team after seeing them throw away a match-winning position for the second match running.
Everything appeared to be going to plan at Carrow Road when Jordan Rhodes headed the Owls into an 18th minute lead.
The visitors sat back, allowed Norwich to dominate the ball and looked to hit them on the counter attack. As Carvalhal pointed out post-match, Wednesday’s two banks of four were “solid and compact” in the first period, although Portugal international Nelson Oliveira let them off the hook by missing an absolute sitter following a misplaced pass by Barry Bannan. Keiren Westwood also made two fine stops either side of half-time to keep Oliveria at bay.
But Norwich took control of the contest and man of the match James Maddison fired home after Westwood kept out Alex Pritchard’s right foot shot.
Carvalhal claimed Maddison’s leveller was the key moment and further strikes by Timm Klose and Oliveira - the latter from a penalty deep into added on time - condemned his side to their first defeat in eight matches.
THE PROPER TURNING POINT
But I think Carvalhal got the turning point wrong.
Things started to go pear-shaped from the moment Angus Gunn saved Gary Hooper’s shot with his shoulder in the dying embers of the first half. It was no more than a half chance but you would have fancied Hooper, on his return to Norfolk, to have converted it given his recent goal-scoring exploits.
If that had gone in and Wednesday had established a two-goal cushion, it would have been a long way back for Norwich.
Carvalhal said: “The players are disappointed to lose the game.
We played well in the first half and showed our quality individually and collectively. We scored one goal and could have scored a second.
“But in the second half we compromised everything. I don’t think it is a question of confidence.
“It is a question of mistakes that we did.”
SLOPPY, SLACK DEFENDING
The Canaries were sharper after the re-start, won more second balls and punished the Owls’ defensive lapses in concentration.
Maddison pulled the strings throughout for Norwich and he restored parity after a rapid break away.
“The moment of the game was their first goal - that changed everything,” insisted Carvalhal. “You can then lose the balance of the team in one moment.
“When you are winning 1-0 in the second half, you should not concede this kind of goal on the counter attack.
Centre-back Timm Klose had the freedom of the Wednesday penalty area to plant a bullet header past Westwood in the 68th minute following Maddison’s corner.
Despite watching multiple television replays, I am still not 100 per cent sure who was meant to be picking the Switzerland international up. Nobody got Klose to him and it was another soft, avoidable goal.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and Carvalhal threw on Atdhe Nuhiu and switched to a 4-3-3 formation in the final quarter of an hour.
But the Owls looked disjointed, unbalanced and did not force Gunn into action.
Carvalhal said: “We took risks and put a lot of players in attack again because the minimum we wanted to achieve was a point. But we were not effective in attack.”
Oliveira bagged a third after Bannan brought down Harrison Reed in the box.
OWLS ARE IN A RUT
These are troubling times for Wednesday. It looked, on paper, the perfect time to play Norwich. The Canaries had gone three months without a home victory and not won any of their previous seven matches.
However, the Owls have big problems at both ends of the pitch and have now played all of the bottom 10 teams, recording just one victory.. Their results are not remotely up to scratch.