Rarely does a Norwich City press conference go by without one remark that sparks conversation amongst fans.

That’s especially true when things are going poorly, so when David Wagner walked into the Craven Cottage media office at 10.18pm on Wednesday night, he was entering choppy waters.

Or so it seemed. This was the fourth of his last five post-match media briefings to follow a loss, and his call to summarise why City had been knocked out of the Carabao Cup.

But the overwhelming feeling surrounding his side was one of positivity, after a battling performance against a near-full-strength Premier League team.

It was no surprise, then, that the soundbite that emerged as the key conversation point evoked excitement and intrigue, rather than the anger and frustration one might have predicted.

“We’d like to attack the next week before the international break, and the first game is Birmingham on Saturday,” Wagner said, two-and-a-half minutes into his briefing. “For this we need everyone.

“It was a very competitive performance [on Wednesday]. A few of the players who started will start on Saturday, or in the next games, because they deserve it.

“We have competition, which is good. Hopefully we will get the energy out of this to perform on the level which we expect.”

With that he’d confirmed what many fans hoped for – that impressive performances against Fulham would be rewarded with Championship minutes. But before long the question turned to who that would be.

Perhaps the strongest impression on the night was made by Jaden Warner, who had convinced supporters by half-time that he was first-team ready.

The Pink Un: Jaden Warner made his senior debut at Fulham.Jaden Warner made his senior debut at Fulham. (Image: Izzy Poles)

Less than 15 minutes into his senior footballing career he’d won a duel with Premier League winner Willian, and he only got better from there. It’s arguable, in fact, that he outplayed defensive partner and captain Ben Gibson on the night.

Warner’s pace and composure were refreshing sights for fans fed up with a more traditional centre-back stable in recent weeks. He brought attributes that would have been welcome in the 6-2 drubbing by Plymouth on Saturday and may even have earned a point against Leicester last week.

But Shane Duffy has been a stalwart of the Wagner regime thus far, and Danny Batth looks likely to be afforded an opportunity after being cup-tied for this defeat.

The German may have admitted that he “couldn’t ask for more” from his young charge in West London, but this felt more like a step forward than a complete lunge.

For Przemyslaw Placheta, however, this was just the latest in a series of door-banging showings in cup competition.

The Pink Un: Przemyslaw Placheta has been pushing for a start this season.Przemyslaw Placheta has been pushing for a start this season. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

The Pole once again outplayed his attacking team-mates throughout the first half, and was matched only by Borja Sainz’s electric cameo late on.

The confidence with which Placheta took on, and often beat, experienced top-flight operator Timothy Castagne was impressive in itself, and it was backed up by consistently strong deliveries into the box.

His first-half cutback for Tony Springett deserved a better finish than it got, and the technique with which he volleyed Adam Forshaw’s long pass across the face of goal was a joy to watch.

Combined with his match-winning display at Bristol, several promising substitute displays and the struggles of his fellow wingers, that performance may well have pushed Placheta over the edge for his league start of the campaign.

The potential end of that three-year arc comes at the opposite end of the spectrum to Forshaw’s City story, which looks like it’s just about to kick off in earnest.

The Pink Un: Adam Forshaw looks likely to start against Birmingham this weekend.Adam Forshaw looks likely to start against Birmingham this weekend. (Image: PA)

He made his first start for the club at Fulham, looking every bit the top-tier all-rounder Wagner described as he industriously and effectively covered the turf.

The 31-year-old’s role in the sharp second-half improvement at Home Park means he looks the likeliest to start this weekend, with Hwang Ui-jo failing to ward off the threat of Gabriel Sara in a second striker role.

The sign of at least an option in the search for a solution there will be a relief for Norwich fans, and that’s the positive dynamic Wednesday’s admirable performance brought.

When they needed a reason to believe it was provided, and the group that failed so spectacularly in the south west was reminded why their places aren’t secure.

The aforementioned trio stood out, but Kellen Fisher, George Long, Sam McCallum and more all advanced their claims. That may provide Wagner with a headache, but it’s one he’s desperate for as City’s season threatens to come off the rails.

Enter the Carrow Road press lounge after another loss, however, and he won’t emerge with another positive soundbite to discuss.