December 8 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Friday, September 20, 2013
Chris Hughton revealed yesterday Aston Villa’s Premier League visit this weekend is a reminder of the lowest point of his Norwich City reign.
Gabby Agbonlahor’s brace inflicted a 2-1 league defeat on the Canaries in May that pushed them deeper into a relegation struggle towards the end of his first campaign at the helm.
City responded positively to finish above Paul Lambert’s side with consecutive victories over West Brom and Manchester City, but Hughton will never forget the pain from Agbonlahor’s damaging 89th minute Carrow Road winner.
“It was a very low feeling and that was nothing to do with the opposition, but the timing ofthe game in our season,” he said. “We had three matches left at that stage and we were one of eight clubs who could have still mathematically gone down. It was a very bitter blow and a really low period for us but fortunately we were able to win the next two games and finish in a very good position.”
Hughton’s sole focus is addressing what he labelled a ‘work in progress’ following a topsy-turvy start to the new Premier League. The City chief admits positive home form has contrasted starkly with two sterile displays on the road at Hull and latterly Tottenham, where the Canaries have failed to score away from Carrow Road. Hughton, however, is adopting a longer term view as he seeks to integrate seven new summer signings into his squad.
“We are just four games into a season and we have players who have to bed into the system and the team,” he said. “We are working on it all the time. Apart from going out and playing eight strikers in the team you have to put a side together and develop a philosophy of how you want to play, then you have to play well enough on the day but we are consistently working on that. It is trying to get the right formulas as much as the right formation and it is very much a work in progress. What we have endeavoured to do in the summer is bring in attacking options and it is about us over a season doing well enough and making sure we get the best out of the players.
“We are very conscious of what we have to do in an attacking sense but if you looked at last season as a whole then you would have to say in terms of our finishing position that ended up a very good season.”
Hughton accepts there is plenty of room for improvement on the evidence of the opening weeks of the new campaign.
“It’s been good and bad,” he said. “I think we came away from Everton feeling that was a good performance and the win against Southampton was also encouraging because I think they will have a good season. They have a way of playing that will win them games so at home I have no complaints. Where we haven’t been so good is away from home. It was a disappointing result at Hull and at Tottenham I just felt we needed to give a better account of ourselves. We always knew with their quality it was going to be a difficult but I would have liked us to perform better. We know we didn’t do well at Spurs and sometimes after a performance like that it is an opportunity to give some players a chance to do better in the next one. I’m not saying I won’t make changes but I don’t think it’s a necessity.”
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.