Chris Hughton won’t be drawn on Norwich City’s formation against Everton

Grant Holt is foiled by Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard during the 1-1 draw between City and Everton at Goodison Park. Grant Holt is foiled by Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard during the 1-1 draw between City and Everton at Goodison Park.

Saturday, February 23, 2013
11:55 AM

Chris Hughton understands why so much focus is centred on Norwich City’s difficulties in front of goal. His Everton team sheet today will outline what he plans to do about it.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Hughton knows a return of one goal in the Canaries’ last six league and cup tests is a pattern that can only suck City back into trouble toward the lower reaches of the Premier League over the next few months.

Hughton’s post-Fulham admission that he planned to pair Grant Holt and Luciano Becchio raised the prospect of a revision to the lone frontman role which had proved a qualified success in insulating City from a prolonged season-long battle to avoid relegation.

But Hughton cautions the solution is more problematic than merely bolstering the point of Norwich’s attack.

“It isn’t just about playing a two up front. It is how you use the team you have – whether that is a Wes (Hoolahan) off the front in a more advanced role. It is always about options,” he said. “Where we have been for a good spell of the season is Wes playing in that position and there is no doubt he can influence a game. If Wes is going to be in the team which position are you going to play him? That comes down to different opinions and where he is best suited. But that is just one area.

“Wes is no different to every other player in the sense if I feel he should be in the team, he will be. If not and I want to change it he is no different to any other player. Which ever team I put out is about getting the balances right. The options I have are two up front, or one up front or play one in a little different way off the front and sometimes it will depend on the opposition’s formation.”

Taken at face value, Everton’s central defensive pairing carry as much latent physical intent as did Fulham’s Brede Hangeland and Philippe Senderos, but Hughton was firm when prompted if he aimed to reprise his Cottagers’ formula.

“No, I can’t confirm that. Both Grant and Luciano are available and there is a good chance that I would have played them (against Fulham),” he said. “I think you assess every opposition. You also look at your own form, how the week’s training has gone and whether you want to set up differently against a particular opponent. That can change from game to game. What might have been the case for a Fulham game might change for an Everton or an away game at Old Trafford the following week. These are all things you work on during the week and they are normal processes. There are numerous games this season when we have used Wes off the front and we have had enough creativity, enough chances, enough balls going into the front and enough support.”

Dealing with Everton’s 11-goal force of nature Marouane Fellaini is another pressing matter for Hughton, but the City boss rejects the notion the Toffees are over-reliant on their Belgian ace.

“I think somebody like him always has to come into your thinking. He is a wonderful player who has had an excellent season but he is part of a really good Everton team,” he said. “I think that would be unfair (to label them a one man team). You have got (Leon) Osman, who has got himself into an England squad, (Leighton) Baines, who people are speaking about in such glowing terms, (Phil) Jagielka, who is very much a regular in that England squad now. These are very good players. It is not a team that has been put together in the last season. They have some seasoned campaigners. “Fellaini gets a fair few of the headlines because of his form this season, but Baines and (Steven) Pienaar is a partnership that has been almost as good as any left-sided partnership in the division. I know occasionally Pienaar will play on the other side as well but he has real quality and Baines is not only a really good user of the ball but a threat from set plays.”

Hughton was impressed with Everton in defeat at Manchester United recently, but with City heading to the champions-elect next weekend the Norwich boss does not attach any greater significance to turning over the Toffees on home soil.

“Irrespective of form, Carrow Road is not an easy place. They will have to work hard to get a result,” he said. “It is key because it is the next game. We need to start turning some of our draws into wins. We are at the business end of the season in a very difficult league where other teams are winning games. We need to make sure the gap that we have had to the bottom three is something we can maintain and get the wins we need to stay clear of it.

“Everton is a home game and we will do everything we can to win the game. I think you build your week on the opposition you are up against and we are up against very good opposition. I think they will be pushing for Champions League spots and if that is not the case then they will not be too far off it. They have a really good group of players, but we are at home and it is about us.”

Hughton is a huge admirer of David Moyes’ enduring ability to meld a fighting unit that can compete against rivals with bigger resources.

“I think every club similar to ours aspires to be what Everton are,” he said. “Firstly, they have an excellent manager and that consistency. They are a club that is managed very, very well with a real good support base.

“They are a well-drilled team. Even in their last game against Manchester United I thought it was a bit unfair to hear David Moyes speak afterwards how well United had played.

“After watching that game I thought Everton had played well and he was perhaps a little harsh on his own team. They are a good side home and away.”

Latest Norwich City stories

11 comments

  • I should hope not! We don`t want a portrait of Hoots being scribbled on the team sheet! 3 points would be a joy today......

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Glad I was wrong!!!!

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • I,m reading between the lines here. I think he,s saying we have to be careful against good opposition but might try two up front if we need to. Thats probably aganst Reading and the like. OTBC. I will be sitting as usual he he

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • It WILL happen today...It WILL happen today..... It WILL happen today.... A fortnight away from Stress!....Days in the sunshine, doing what footballers do in the Sunshine, One day golfing, another day having Ballet lessons, plenty of press ups, So they will be UP FOR IT! Hatful of goals today!

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • …..can't tell you the team yet! ...He's probably mislaid his hat !!!....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • I`d missed that nuance, Singapore. Yes, it is a bit "Pot\Kettle\Black" isn`t it! I wonder if Whits could be tried in midfield, partnering BJ, to give Tetts a rest? I think he did do that @ Rangers sometimes - and he has a great shot with either foot. Lawro says we`ll win - I hope that`s not the Kiss of Death from the bewigged buffoon. I have a small bet on that we will win. I do every week. It`s as much use as the Lottery has been so far!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Let me be the 1st to sincerely congratulate Screaming Orator. On 20th Feb she posted "We will beat Everton". We did. Of course, being an ancient anti-Norwich pessimist, I didn`t really have a bet on at Betfred for a 2-1 City win. Oh, yes I did!! Even had Holt as a scorer.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Stop bulling up the opposition CH, our players must be cr@ping themselves before they start. I reckon Lucifer will get his first. The team is topped up on vitamin D and a tan to boot. We're ready to rumble.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Hope we go all out for the win, and not play the boring Get-a-Draw tactics of recent weeks ! Lets go for it from the strat and rock Everton back in their boots. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • Singapore I'm with you on that , time to unleash Special K and unshackle the beast in Holt , lets go for the jugular and win by 4 ; )

    Report this comment

    mjc75

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

  • I see Lawro has predict we win..... How can CH say... I thought it was a bit unfair to hear David Moyes speak afterwards how well United had played..... erm does he CH not do this on a regular basis about teams we play!!! I would like to see Kamara and Holt start with Pilks back and try Whits instead of Martin, I accept Martin has done nothing wrong but Whits gives us something different and also some height. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Jakarta Canary

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT