I praised Dean Smith’s selection and formation at Rotherham - but against Middlesbrough I think that he got it wrong, not in terms of his original tactics, but rather his total failure to respond to Michael Carrick’s adjustments as City’s bright opening 20 minutes became a distant memory.

Had City’s financial director not taken to social media recently to tell us that there wasn’t a growing disconnect between the club, the manager and the fans, I might have been tempted to believe that the early stampede for the exit and the subsequent crescendo of booing on Saturday was a sign that patience in the stands at the repeated under-performance of a talented squad is wearing paper thin.

The fact is that City started like a Ferrari and ended like a Trabant, and what is so damning is that this is happening time and again. Even a clearly exasperated Josh Sargent, in his post-match interview, bemoaned the fact that City repeatedly become passive having taken the lead.

Their second-half performance was utterly inexplicable as Middlesbrough were allowed all the time in the world to knock the ball about while City, in their occasional bouts of possession, once again reverted to apparently being unable to complete or control the simplest of passes.

Add that to the utter predictability of their back four playing a series of lateral passes while the opposition regrouped and closed down all the midfield options and it’s easy to see why fans get so frustrated.

This inability to progress the ball at pace means that these sequences often end in a long kick upfield, but because City’s centre backs are still closer to their own goal than the halfway line, it is practically impossible to squeeze the midfield area, while the midfielders are generally too far away from their strikers.

A strung-out formation is a gift from heaven for a side looking to operate a low block and play on the break, which is the gameplan favoured by most Carrow Road visitors, and City are currently offering it to them on a plate.

On Saturday, visiting players regularly found acres of space in midfield because Hayden Hackney was picking the ball up from his defenders and making positive forward passes while City’s build-up was yet again laboured and unimaginative after their opening burst.

Carrick’s game plan was excellent, with Boro increasingly applying a high press as City tired, and with no real response to it from the home dug-out, other than to send on a winger primarily to help out a beleaguered full-back, it won them the game.

I can live with sides coming to Carrow Road and playing City off the park, but what I find increasingly exasperating is the number of teams that are coming to what should be a fortress and showing visibly greater passion, energy and desire than the Canaries.

I also found it alarming that Smith is promising that City will return as “a different animal”, apparently having realised 21 games into a season in which they have repeatedly underperformed that a significant change of approach is required.

However, what really hurts for diehard fans is the sight of Ipswich Town having a great season based on exactly the sort of “we’re all in it together” spirit that was absolutely central to City’s success in recent seasons.

Everyone there, including a number of former City employees, seems to have bought into the project and are all pulling together, whereas at Carrow Road the growing sense is that many fans are feeling estranged by the club’s increasing insularity with indifference replacing anger for many.

The Pink Un:

However, the situation on and off field isn’t terminal and can still be rectified, with Mark Attanasio’s involvement potentially pivotal in that, but that won’t happen while only one side of the divide believes that there is actually a problem that needs to be addressed.