March 10 2014 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Chris Hughton does not dispute Norwich’s failures on the road in the Premier League raise serious doubts about City’s mental toughness.
Hughton knows his tactical nous and selection policy will be routinely scrutinised in the search for answers, but the compliant way his players capitulate away from Norfolk is also a genuine cause for concern.
“I would like to think there isn’t an issue with a lack of confidence but, yes, you have to accept with the results we have had the confidence does seem to be lacking,” he said, following a sixth loss in seven league games this season at Liverpool in midweek. “That is normal when you concede goals. At the moment we seem to be punished for every mistake we make. I felt we started bright and quite well (at Liverpool) and then the two best opportunities they had early on they score, so from a bright start you are 2-0 down.
“Our performances and results have not been good enough away from home, albeit we have had some tough ones, and Manchester City showed what they are capable of in particular. No doubt our best performance was at Stoke and we need to get closer to that. Of course our away form is a concern. The statistics show that. All we can do to change that is work hard. It is up to all of us to find the right solutions.”
West Brom ended Norwich’s club-record Premier League unbeaten run in last season’s corresponding fixture at the Hawthorns. Hughton’s decision to pair Alex Tettey and Bradley Johnson in a screening role helped fuel that fertile period and City’s boss admits he needs to discover another winning formula.
“Sometimes you feel you have got it right and then others that you perhaps have to change it. It is a big part of my job,” he said. “I look at the opposition, how we are and how we should set up and getting that right game after game is the hardest thing as a manager. If I look at the best period we had last season it was with a fairly consistent team. The back four and the four across midfield didn’t change so much. It is only consistent if you get the results to go with it and ours have been very up and down so with that comes choices you have to make.
“We added to the squad in the summer and sometimes that settling period takes a little bit longer. I can honestly tell you there has not been one away game this season we went into thinking we could not get something from it. There is definitely never a feeling of going out and trying to just limit the damage.”
Hughton is well aware the Baggies have the firepower to probe for fresh vulnerability in the form of the experienced Shane Long and an emerging talent in Saido Berahino.
“Long is a good player and the other lad looks a good young prospect,” he said. “Its less what I can expect from them and more what I can expect from us. We have to be grateful this game comes around as quick as it does after Liverpool. West Brom is a point above us and being spoken about generally in very good terms. They are a good side and Steve Clarke has done a very good job since going there, but we are very close to them (in the table).”