Chris Hughton enjoying ‘toughest task’ at Norwich City

Chris Hughton takes notes during Saturday's memorable victory over Manchester United at Carrow Road. Chris Hughton takes notes during Saturday's memorable victory over Manchester United at Carrow Road.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
10:04 AM

Chris Hughton feels keeping Norwich City in the Premier League would be one of the best achievements of his managerial career.

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The Canaries head to Everton on Saturday on the back of beating Manchester United to extend their unbeaten league run to five matches, but the former Newcastle and Birmingham chief has cautioned that City still face a huge challenge to retain their top flight status.

“Given the resources this club has, the strength of the squad and the quality of opposition we are up against on a weekly basis, I would say this is the toughest task I have taken on in my career,” he said. “You look at what I inherited at Newcastle and while it was a team suffering from the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League, the basic core of that squad still had a lot of quality.

“It was a case of pushing them in the right direction, reminding them of some good habits and getting them back on their feet, which I did successfully. Birmingham was different because of the financial situation at the club and we did so well to get into the play-offs last season, but I look at the job I’ve taken on at Norwich and it’s a real tough one.”

Hughton, speaking to ESPN, is under no illusions how tough an act he had to follow.

“I would not wish to criticise the previous manager for one moment because he did a wonderful job here, but Paul Lambert knew the time was right for him to leave when he did,” he said. “I’m sure Paul appreciated that this season would be very tough at Norwich because the surprise element that served him well in their first season back in the Premier League is gone and it is a case of working hard to get points now. It’s not easy, but I’m enjoying the challenge.

“We have an honest group of players here who are doing their best to get results in an environment that is very difficult for us to succeed in, but the satisfaction you get when you succeed at a club of Norwich’s stature is even more thrilling than it would be if I was at what you might consider one of the top clubs in England.”

Hughton insisted, however, the lure of managing again in the Premier League proved irresistible after his previous Newcastle spell turned sour.

“If you work in this game, you want to be involved in the Premier League, to pit your wits against Manchester United and Chelsea, to try and defy the odds,” he said. “The pressure and stress you put yourself through is probably not good for you.

“Can I switch off when I go home at night? Not really because there is always something to do, always a phone call to take, always a problem that crops up.

“The January transfer window is just around the corner now and already the agents are ringing me trying to sell me this player and that player – whether Norwich can afford to bring in the guys we are being offered is a different matter.”

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28 comments

  • CH is very realistic, and he has made comments like this several times already this season. They used to worry me but don't know, because his squad members talk about team spirit, unity, confidence and being full of commitment. CH has used the fact of being underdogs to build defensive solidity, and to motivate the squad that by achieving this they can beat the fancied sides. His plan is not short term, and he has remoulded a squad far quicker than Rodgers at Liverpool. He is impressing me more and more, and I really like that there is no big ego here, but still, considerable confidence in his own ability. Just what we need.

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    Michael D

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • Oh, thanks Chris! Where would you rather be? Chelsea?

    Report this comment

    Billy

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • CH is very realistic, and he has made comments like this several times already this season. They used to worry me but don't know, because his squad members talk about team spirit, unity, confidence and being full of commitment. CH has used the fact of being underdogs to build defensive solidity, and to motivate the squad that by achieving this they can beat the fancied sides. His plan is not short term, and he has remoulded a squad far quicker than Rodgers at Liverpool. He is impressing me more and more, and I really like that there is no big ego here, but still, considerable confidence in his own ability. Just what we need.

    Report this comment

    Michael D

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • Well he must've wanted the job, cos he's signed for 3 years ! He didn't tell any lies + unless the players are stupid, they must know all those things in their minds anyway. Whether Chris should've said it out loud on a football site is another matter, but I don't hold it against him. I live in Manchester. Trust me, we are NOT a big team. If we survive, say 5 years, in the Prem it will be an incredible achievement, without massive crowds or ridiculously wealthy backers who throw money @ the manager.

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • That's right Chris, you keep building the players confidence up!

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    North folk

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • This is an extraordinarily frank set of statements for a manager who isn't under pressure as of now. Have to say I agree over Lambert, the bubble was burstign, he knew it was time to move on while his star was still high. Think I said that at the time. As to the assessment of the squad, maybe he's just trying to loosen the board's wallet for January. Makes a change from PL saying the same thing every window "we'll just try to bring in a few new faces to give the existing squad a hand" - same meaning different way of putting it. And if it all goes pear shaped , Hoots can say he always told us it was difficult.

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    SussexYellow

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • You know, some of these managers think that they have been sent from heaven. Some of our previous ones had that opinion of themselves. Just what is their job, apart from standing on the side of the pitch on match days chewing gum and sucking on a bottle. Don't tell me it's them that kick the ball around during a game. I also believe that much of the training is delegated to ex players who have a better understanding of their charges. Those who were better footballers in their time, and are building a team with spirit, in their image. The Manager is the mouthpiece, the behind the scenes organiser, the co-ordinator, hiring and firing at will, signing six for one job and hoping one will make the grade But when push comes to shove, its those chosen eleven that have to do the work for us all. They are the ones who deserve our support.

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    Pa Snipps

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • CH is very realistic, and he has made comments like this several times already this season. They used to worry me but don't know, because his squad members talk about team spirit, unity, confidence and being full of commitment. CH has used the fact of being underdogs to build defensive solidity, and to motivate the squad that by achieving this they can beat the fancied sides. His plan is not short term, and he has remoulded a squad far quicker than Rodgers at Liverpool. He is impressing me more and more, and I really like that there is no big ego here, but still, considerable confidence in his own ability. Just what we need.

    Report this comment

    Michael D

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • It`d be nice to think he took advice from the likes of us, Pa! There are only 3 Lambo players in the current starting XI; Pilks, JR & Johnno. Even one Roeder man remains- in Hoolahoop- and there`s Gunny`s redemption, SuperHolt. Other Lambo players have quickly been marginalised; Ayala, Ward, Vaughan, Surs, Fox, Barnett. Others have departed. CH has all his own men in the back four and I`ll freely admit I was wrong about Turner. I think fans` pressure may have swung Hoots on the Hoolahoop thing. But he did persuade Grant to stay. All in all, quite impressive. But this article is a worry. It doesn`t seem real. I agree, Pa, the effort shown by the loyal players deserves the accolades. I still can`t believe he (Hughton!) said those things. Or am I in denial? OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Well, sad to say North folk, I am sorry to see that in print. And surprised. Did CH or NCFC have any editorial control? Did Hoots REALLY say that? It would appear that the manager is down-grading the perceived quality of his own squad. The Lambo comments are fine - he is a Twister not a Sticker. I rate Hoots very highly and hope that article misrepresents what he said or meant. Unless Hoots` mind games are aimed at his players rather than opposing managers.........? Everton watch out! OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • I totally agree Brewer I could hardly believe what I was reading in the EDP today,if he said that then I am disappointed with him and not what the team should be hearing.

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    leslie cater

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • PS. Pa , I think I `took` your ethering on another board. One for the team! ;-)

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • I'll bet my next comment gets ethered

    Report this comment

    Pa Snipps

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • PS: The bloke in the grey jacket behind Hoots looks well-endowed.............or is he pushing the coat out with his hands in his pockets ?

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Or is it mind games? Arsenal Tottenham and Man U have all been suckered by our weak squad! Its not what you've got its how you use it - at least that's what my wife says

    Report this comment

    Pondlife

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Do not come around these parts much now but decided to have a look this morning. Now come on chaps, what is all the gloom and despondency over Hoots comments? I believe the man has told it as it is, he has been candid, open and up front. In our eyes it is a big club but in reality we are a small fish, City are recovering from a mountain of debt, trying to rebuild and cement a Premier Div. place and if Hoots comments are re-read I believe he really is up front with his assessment. We have no household names, players mostly from lower levels or haven't made it where they were, yes they are heroes locally and how well they are doing, give the man credit for what he has done and may well go on to do please.

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    blackdog2

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • CH is very realistic, and he has made comments like this several times already this season. They used to worry me but don't know, because his squad members talk about team spirit, unity, confidence and being full of commitment. CH has used the fact of being underdogs to build defensive solidity, and to motivate the squad that by achieving this they can beat the fancied sides. His plan is not short term, and he has remoulded a squad far quicker than Rodgers at Liverpool. He is impressing me more and more, and I really like that there is no big ego here, but still, considerable confidence in his own ability. Just what we need.

    Report this comment

    Michael D

    Friday, November 23, 2012

  • So...looks like I'm the only one who didn't mind reading these comments. I think it makes absolute sense. This group of players (even including most of the new CH recruits) have largely got to where they are with the "underdogs" tag. In terms of individual quality within the squad, I'm not sure there's many (if any) starting 11 players in any other team in the PL (minus Stoke and Wigan) who we wouldn't agree would improve the quality of our squad. So, on that basis, this is a difficult job and, if CH is to succeed, it will be because our players continue to punch above themselves. From a man management point of view, I think these comments are absolutely aimed at keeping our players' feet firmly on the floor - last thing we want after beating Man U and Arsenal is for some of the players to get ideas above their level, start acting the big "I am" and consequently play less well.

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    PutneyCanary

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • This could prelude a lot of goings and a few comings in January,Robbie Keane reported to be coming in on loan from the states and Moro reported to be going out-to Forest.Lots of paper talk and it's still November.CH shows he has the same essential quality as PL,ruthlessness.

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    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • I suppose managers have to glean off a bit of Kudos for themselves. After all, their life expectancy, before being shown the revolving door, is not good. Di Matteo out of Chelsea (European Champs last season). Mancini under threat at MCFC (EPL Champs last season). AVB under threat at Spurs (so soon after Chelsea`s revolving door). Adkins under threat at Soton (after back-to-back promotions). And remember what happened to Hoots at Newcastle...... But I cannot bring myself to believe he subtly `dissed` his players as implied in that article!!

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Let's get this straight! Norwich City gained promotion last time around, not because of Worthington, but in spite of him . He then decided to rip the heart out of the side, and disposed of the main men- Roberts and McKay. Least said about his successors the better, except to say that Roeder dumped Huckerby to satisfy his own ego.. Gunn tried to pick up the pieces, but was never the right man for the job. Along comes Lambert with nothing to lose, but he had inherited a few decent players, some still figure in the side. Things could not get worse and the players he had at his disposal played their socks off. Promotion! This was continued in the Championship and with a bit of adjustment here and there, more success. Move on to the Premiership, and once again the likes of Holt and Hoolahan spearheaded our progress. Things started to go awry at the Sunderland match, when Lambert started to break the side up, but we held on. Yes we could have finished higher in the League. Lamberts mind was elsewhere, and his departure became inevitable. Chris Houghton had at his disposal a squad of quality players, and some misfits. He tried to change things to his way of thinking, but had to retreat to the advice handed to him FOC from the likes of us. Yes the Club is running smoothly on the surface, but I suggest that the results now being achieved are more down to his loyal players.

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    Pa Snipps

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • Fair comment, blackdog. But I do think Hoots` words might have been better chosen. I believe he is full of good intentions, is a fine manager and a decent man. There`s a lot of truth in Pa`s sentiments, though little applies to Hoots himself; he had a top playing career, both Club and International. He stands out from many managers as a truly civilised and courteous man. But in the end it`s the players that have to do it. It`s Hoots` job to get the best players he can and for his coaching team to get the best out of them. Top task for CH is motivation? IHIT, mostly! I still don`t trust the veracity of the reporting, anyway!

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • These are actual quotes so must be true? Disappointed if he did say these things and a black mark against him. Still a good manager though!

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    Chilly62

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • I wonder about the veracity of reporting. Years ago I talked to the local Press about a brewery reorganisation which meant the loss of a number of jobs. Without this reorganisation the place would have been closed by the Company. My honest explanation of the facts were distilled by the hack to "Head Brewer ****** said there`ll be less jobs but it`s better than nothing". I would have said "fewer". Distilled is the wrong word to use in the press context, it implies purity. Eventually it did close and I lost my job!!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • Comments for bd2 & Pa ethered. Maybe they`ll turn up. If not IDGAF.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • These references to "Chris". Has his posting been retro-censored? Timbo, those sort of guys used to wear dirty old raincoats, not sports gear!

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • I wonder about the veracity of reporting. Years ago I talked to the local Press about a brewery reorganisation which meant the loss of a number of jobs. Without this reorganisation the place would have been closed by the Company. My honest explanation of the facts were distilled by the hack to "Head Brewer ****** said there`ll be less jobs but it`s better than nothing". I would have said "fewer". Distilled is the wrong word to use in the press context, it implies purity. Eventually it did close and I lost my job!!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

  • Chris, note to self. Future jobs, politics, no.

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    Swiss Canary

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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