Chris Hughton had what many felt to be an impossible task when he replaced Paul Lambert at Carrow Road. Now his players are starting to acknowledge that he's taking the Canaries on a step.

Bradley Johnson - Chris Hughton has brought stability to Norwich City

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
2.21 PM

Norwich City midfielder Bradley Johnson insists Chris Hughton has been a major catalyst for change in the club’s Premier League revival.

The Canaries head to Swansea this weekend on the back of an unbeaten nine-match run in all competitions following a testing start to Hughton’s Carrow Road tenure.

City’s defensive resolve during recent times has been in stark contrast to early season difficulties, but Johnson is adamant a transition phase was inevitable from the all-out attacking ethos of his predecessor.

“He has brought stability. He has made us harder to beat and you can see that from the goals conceded,” said Johnson.

“He is very keen on keeping clean sheets and now we don’t look like we are going to concede goals in games. The manager has come in and seen last year perhaps that we are conceding a lot of goals.

“I think last year we had a motto of ‘you score, we score’ which probably wasn’t good, even though we did well last year, but the manager has come in and brought some new players and they have done brilliant for us. I think the fact that we are keeping clean sheets is good and now we just have to score a few more.”

Johnson has been a regular alongside Norwegian international Alex Tettey in Hughton’s plans in a successful defensive central midfield role to protect City’s back four.

The former Arsenal trainee cites the 1-0 Carrow Road Premier League win over his boyhood club as a defining moment in helping the Canaries to turn a corner.

“I think the Arsenal game was one of the best of our season,” he said. “We knew what they were about, we knew they are a passing team so we thought we would try to get in their faces, defend well and catch them on the counter-attack.

“I thought we could have had more than a 1-0 win because we played well that night.

“The confidence levels at this club are always high. If you lose a game we don’t tend to drop our heads. We just get on with it and focus on the next game.

“We have a terrific bunch. We work hard for each other, on and off the pitch, we have all come from the lower leagues and we know how hard it is to get here but it is even harder to try and stay here so we have to work even harder.”

Johnson, speaking on the Premier League podcast show, believes City’s impressive unbeaten run should distract no-one from the number one objective – survival.

“The ambition for everyone has to be to stay in this league. We have worked so hard to get here,” he said. “I don’t think it would be a downer if we were not to do as well as last season, because this is the place to be, it is the best league in the world.

“For me, the main aim is to stay consistent and stay fit and play as many games as I can.”