Dean Smith rued his Norwich side’s “six out of 10” performances as they managed just one shot on target in a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Southampton.
Che Adams and Oriol Romeu were on target for the home side, who had numerous chances to add to their tally as they extended their unbeaten league run to five games.
Saints took the lead in the 36th minute when Adams bundled the ball over the line before Romeu doubled their tally in the final minutes with a powerful volley for his first goal since October 2020.
“It felt a tough night,” Smith admitted after the final whistle.
“We had too many six out of 10s tonight and if you do that, you’re not going to compete very well in the Premier League.
“It’s our third game on the spin with a defeat. The other two have been decent performances against Man City and Liverpool.
“But we can’t forget we’ve come up against a decent team in Southampton. But the players know they have to be better than they were tonight.”
The Canaries had hauled themselves out of the relegation zone prior to the international break following successive wins over Everton and Watford but Dean Smith’s side now find themselves bottom again and five points from safety.
“I don’t believe it was a backwards step in terms of the mentality and belief of the players, we just didn’t play at a good enough level.”
The three points lifted Southampton above Brighton into 10th place as they built on their comfortable 2-0 win over Everton at the weekend.
“I’m happy, absolutely we knew that these are the toughest wins because everybody expects it and against teams they are so organised and fighting for everything, so it’s not easy,” manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said after the game.
“But the way we managed it today was a massive one I think.
“It didn’t feel that dominant or that clear but we had a lot of good chances where we could score definitely and in the end we needed a set piece with a fantastic shot from Ori (Romeu) to calm the game down and finally I think it was a good game.”