Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Chris Hughton insists the time to judge Norwich City is at the end of the Premier League season.
The Canaries ground out a point against Fulham at Carrow Road to secure a third consecutive top flight draw in their bid to avoid becoming embroiled in a late season relegation battle. Hughton and his squad flew out to Abu Dhabi following the Cottagers’ deadlock to spend four days at a warm weather training camp in preparation for a run-in where survival remains the number one objective.
“For us there is only one statistic and one opinion that really counts and that’s the one at the end of the season,” said Hughton. “If we’ve managed to accumulate enough points to be where we’d like to be in this division then it’s been a good season. I know there are going to be times when the fans are disappointed, I know there are times when the fans are elated because of what they’re seeing.
“For clubs like us, you can’t perform at that level all of the time and you just hope that when you’re not at your best you can still pick up results. And probably when we weren’t at our best, we weren’t doing that a few weeks ago. We’re not at our best at the moment, but we’re not losing.”
Fresh league defeats for struggling trio QPR, Reading and Wigan boosted City’s own prospects of staying out of the mix, but after watching his side toil against Fulham Hughton accepts Norwich cannot rely on favours from their rivals.
“You hope the other results go for us and they haven’t been too bad but we have to do it ourselves and we now have two weeks to work and be refreshed for Everton at home,” he said. “You’d perhaps look at our draw a little bit differently if the other results had gone against you, but I think when we look back on it, it’s not a bad result even though we wanted the three points.
“We haven’t been as creative as I would like on this run but Fulham is a good side with quality that can hurt you. The negative is we need to score more goals. I think in terms of results we have turned a corner. We’ve had some wonderful highs this season and we have had some lows as well but that would be expected of a club where we are. We just have to make sure we keep accumulating points and while we would like the wins there is only one objective and that is to make sure we are in the Premier League next season.”
Norwich remain behind the Cottagers only on goal difference and Hughton believes that underlines progress has been made since the club’s opening day mauling at Craven Cottage.
“We’re certainly a lot closer to them. They’re a team that have been a mid-table team in the Premier League for almost as long as I can remember and the quality of their players shows that,” he said. “I didn’t think they particularly hurt us and we got into some good areas, but we needed to show a little bit more in that offensive third. We have a home game coming up and it’s another we’ve got to look to get three points from.”