Juan Mata proved the difference for Chelsea in a 1-0 Boxing Day Premier League win against Norwich at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City boss Chris Hughton believes Chelsea cashed in on first half uncertainty

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
6.53 PM

Norwich boss Chris Hughton felt City made life too easy for Chelsea at times in their 1-0 Premier League Boxing Day reverse to Rafa Benitez’s title contenders.

Juan Mata settled a game Chelsea controlled for long spells, but Hughton was unhappy in the first period with the number of times the Canaries conceded possession.

“The area I was disappointed in during the first half was that, we have been good on the ball, but we were a little bit loose and it allowed them to have three or four good counter-attacks,” said Hughton. “We dealt with them eventually very well but it was a ball that was given away (that led to the goal), they broke very well and we got bodies around the ball but I think you have to admire the strike.

“That is why Chelsea pay the money they do for the attacking players they have and it was probably the one real bit of quality in the game that perhaps deserved a goal.”

The defeat for the Canaries followed Saturday’s 2-1 reverse at West Brom and leaves Hughton’s side 11th in the table with champions Manchester City the visitors to Carrow Road at the weekend.

“I thought we dealt with them for really big periods of the game, the chances they had I thought were fairly minimal, we restricted them,” he said.

“As the game opened up in the second half I think we broke very well and showed good energy and might have got a draw in the end.”