July 28 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Chris Hughton admits hosting European greats Ajax tonight is the perfect way to start his Carrow Road managerial reign.
The Canaries’ return home after the latest friendly win at Peterborough over the weekend followed pre-season trips to Austria and Glasgow.
Hughton acknowledges the presence of the four-time European Cup winners and current Dutch champions adds an extra special ingredient to his own big night.
“All of these games are good for us, but I am very much looking forward to this one because it is a home game at Carrow Road,” he said.
“They are certainly the biggest club in Holland with the biggest name and in recent times there name is back on top where a lot of people feel they belong.
“It will be a certainly good test and a nice occasion, because the name Ajax, it doesn’t come much bigger.
“They play a different type of game. Even in the Premier League where you get teams playing perhaps 4-3-3 or variations on that system, it is still a high energy game full of good technical and physical players. I think with the Dutch it has always been about the system they play and trying to work the holes very well. What they can do is they can exploit you and they make themselves very difficult to mark.”
Hughton confirmed after City’s London Road friendly win new signings Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner could be involved tonight (7.45pm) after training for the first time with their new team mates on Sunday morning.
Defender Steven Whittaker (ankle), midfielder David Fox (knee) and Jacob Butterfield (knee) are not expected to feature in this week’s games against the Dutch Champions League qualifiers and League One outfit MK Dons on Friday.
Hughton maintains the sole short term focus remains on peaking for the Premier League opener at Fulham on August 18. City will again have to defy many of the pundits predicting the Canaries will suffer second season struggles – but Hughton insists plenty of their other top flight foes face a similar challenge.
“That is only going to be a factor because people keep mentioning it,” he said. “For me, this is a new group of lads and for the players it’s a new manager and staff around them.
“I am very conscious of what this club achieved last season and it was outstanding. It is a tough act to follow.
But we are probably one of eight to ten teams that in recent seasons have gone into the Premier and either stayed or gone up and come back and who are trying to make sure they fight to stay in this division, so we are in good company.
“We just have to make sure that come the end of the season we are better than a few.”
Norwich defender Ryan Bennett believes City will be better for the experience of a successful tilt at the Premier League. Bennett is relishing the prospect of his first full campaign on the big stage after forcing his way into the side towards the end of last season. It is a big step up and you notice the difference when you play the top teams but at Peterborough we tried to play the right way and pass the ball so it was nice when I came into Norwich I found the same situation and a similar background,” he said. “The step up was hard because you are playing against the teams of the calibre of Manchester City and it was a hard run-in, but we nicked some results along the way and finished well.
“If people want to say we will struggle they can say that. We won’t pay any attention to that. We’ve seen teams do it, we’ve seen teams not do it. Teams go up who come straight back down and teams who go up and do very well - hopefully we can be one of those that does well.”
The Canaries will wear their new black away kit for the first time this evening.
Frank de Boer’s squad trained at Norfolk County FA’s football development centre in Bowthorpe yesterday ahead of the final game of their English tour after beating Southampton 1-0.
• Ajax (likely squad): Vermeer, Alderweireld, Anita, Sigthorsson, De Jong, Janssen, Blind, Boerrigter, Fische, Ozbiliz, Van Rhijn, Dijks, Cillessen, Klaassen, Serero, Koppera, Lukoki, Ligeon, Schone,Veltman, Denswil.