December 10 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Chris Hughton is convinced Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper will prove their worth in the Premier League – but the Norwich boss is not poised to unleash them as a double act.
Both arrived at Carrow Road in the summer with prolific goalscoring reputations and Hughton is well aware he now has the task of trying to unlock that potential. Stoke are the only top flight team to have scored fewer goals in the opening weeks but Hughton insists the solution does not lie in harnessing the two as a pair.
“I can understand why the fans want to see them play together but there are not many teams that will play two up top because of the nature of the modern game and the quality teams have in central midfield areas,” he said. “Can it work? Yes it can and I can see a time and a moment when I do play the two together, but it is very difficult to play both of them very high up the park. The times when you do see that is perhaps when you find yourself chasing the game or maybe on the odd occasion when you feel you can organise your midfield in a slightly different way but it is very difficult to have the two high up.
“Perhaps the better option we always have is to play one up top and one in behind, which you see a lot of with clubs playing a 4-4-1-1 and a striker deployed in that position. Supporters want to see attractive, winning football and we all do. That is the game and anyone who watches wants to see the same thing.”
Hughton introduced both Hooper and Nathan Redmond in the closing stages of Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League home defeat to Chelsea to underline City’s attacking threat from the bench.
“Ultimately it is always about getting enough goals to win football matches and that is my responsibility,” he said. “What we have done is brought in offensive options and not necessarily from the start (of games). You see Nathan comes in late on along with Gary and we were trying to change it. “We feel we have a stronger bench than last season and the options we have to win a football match. We are delighted with the signings we have made. They will all play, they will all contribute towards the season but the reality is we are up against real quality in this division that can really hurt you and if you play an expansive game then that becomes very difficult. It doesn’t mean that in a system with one up top the philosophy has to be not trying to get the best out of what we have. We still want to make sure we get crosses in the box, support in the box and runners from midfield.”
Chris Hughton insists he can ill afford to feel sympathy for rival Premier League bosses operating in the cut-throat world of top flight management.