Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich City’s travelling support were right to criticise his side during the Canaries’ Premier League thumping at Aston Villa.
City’s sporadic attacking efforts in the final quarter of a 4-1 defeat at Villa Park drew ironic cheers from the away end, who also hailed former City duo Grant Holt and Paul Lambert in the closing stages. Hughton knows City’s loyal support was short-changed in the Midlands, but the Norwich manager believes his players will respond against Stoke this weekend at Carrow Road.
“I can understand that reaction,” said Hughton. “They have seen a team start well and within a 15 minute period are 4-1 down so any frustrations they have or they want to express I accept. They travel a long way to watch their football team and they want to see a performance that gives them a positive result.
“It is not a lack of fighting spirit because we have showed that. It is about responsibility. We have to dig deep and weather the storm in those difficult periods. You are going to have some bad days and that was a bad one. We were poor in a 15 minute period that cost us the game.”
Hughton is adamant his players have proved their mental toughness already this season following thumping away league defeats at both Manchester City and Liverpool.
“We generally have a side who are capable of picking themselves up and churning out results when they have needed to,” he said. “This is such a competitive league. It is probably as competitive as I have seen the bottom half of the division. We know a home win this Saturday and results going our way changes things and the mood once again. We went on a good run towards the end of last season when we were in a vulnerable position.
“There are 10 sides with not many points between them so we need to be the side who can put a series of results together to break away from that.”
Hughton has reiterated he is not interested in setting any points target ahead of the final 10 fixtures.
“No, we don’t have one in mind and it is almost a little bit dangerous to have one. Everyone has different opinions. I think it is going to be very difficult to determine what it will take.”