Norwich City boss Chris Hughton is still striving for the right formulas

Norwich City captain Sebastien Bassong leads the inquest after Luis Suarez's second in a 5-1 win for Liverpool. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City captain Sebastien Bassong leads the inquest after Luis Suarez's second in a 5-1 win for Liverpool. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Saturday, December 7, 2013
7:00 AM

Chris Hughton does not dispute Norwich’s failures on the road in the Premier League raise serious doubts about City’s mental toughness.

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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).”

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16 comments

  • I know it's very popular to slate the manager but why are we not concentrating more on the players? Ruddy has been very poor, I doubt he'll even go to Brazil as third choice now, Bassong a long way off last season, Snods not good either...the list goes on. Only Redmond and Fer and howson are any where near the level of performance we should consistently expect. Of course, you will all say its the managers responsibility to get the best out of the players-and you're right. But only in part. The whole great man theory is a bit over subscribed and a little too simplistic. All I'll say, and with only the clubs best interests at heart: be very careful what you wish for. A lot of this team were brought in by CH. there is no guarantee it gets better under someone else. And while it would seems that most will disagree, I think it could get a lot worse. After all, positioned where we are, we're on target for safety. Surely that really remains the only crucial target this season??

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    PutneyCanary

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Searching for a formula, Mr Hughton? How about: (1) Employ an assistant coach who knows how to play attacking football. (2) Employ an assistant coach who knows how to defend. (3) Employ an assistant coach who knows about tactics and changing a game by the intelligent use of substitutes. (4) Employ an assistant coach who knows how to motivate players with team talks and avoids continually bigging-up the opposition both before and after matches. So, there you have a perfect solution, employ four new assistants which would free you up to make the tea.

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    Mel Lacey

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Team news Turner in for Bennet and Martin dropped for Whitaker, Hooper for Hooly. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Ghana Dom

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Well put Mel Lacey! Also if Hughton wants consistency why did he drop Hooper at Anfield just when Hooper is getting into his stride. Seems to me that Hughton undermines consistency and confidence within the squad. As for bigging-up the opposition, Hughton has irritated me from day one with that particular talent, but I can see the logic in it which may pay off for him very soon, hopefully, when one of the flattered Premier clubs picks up his P45.

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    Clothcap

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Great summery Mel. Feel confused today always want us to win, but a voice in the background is saying lose four nil then the hierarchy at the club may awake from their slumber and make the much needed changes to the football management .

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    Melvyn Parkerson

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Searching for a formula, Mr Hughton? How about: (1) Employ an assistant coach who knows how to play attacking football. (2) Employ an assistant coach who knows how to defend. (3) Employ an assistant coach who knows about tactics and changing a game by the intelligent use of substitutes. (4) Employ an assistant coach who knows how to motivate players with team talks and avoids continually bigging-up the opposition both before and after matches. So, there you have a perfect solution, employ four new assistants which would free you up to make the tea.

    Report this comment

    Mel Lacey

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • …...Team selection for today!.....Give me a chance together...I am trying something new!......instead of the hat!....All stand in a line..Tallest on the left..Shortest on the right!.....Here we go then!...Eeney! Meany! Minee! Mo!...Catch a ..OOPS! By his toe!.....Now !.. Do WBA play in White shirts with Black stripes, or Black shirts with White stripes......This is not a question that can easily be answered, and certainly not by those fools who pay money to watch the quality that I serve to them....Just give me time! And I will hit on a formula to solve that one.....In the mean time, some of my tea ladies are coming out of hiding and will be giving me their full support...STEADY NOW!.....Right now!!...Brew- B.P.-DocOhNo- Pa, and missing sensible friends...it's about time you made a return to these pages!!!....I can't do it all!...and today could be the day when much changes!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • What a joke statement once again, "Our performances and results have not been good enough away from home". Let be frank, our performances have been just as bad at home and it is difficult to think of one good performance. Even the games we have managed to win, against WHU and Palace were not that good and we struggled to put poor teams to the sword. Mel Lacey is spot on, perhaps he should be on the board to get a decent input into affairs.

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    TrevorKeith

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Be fair - Hughton has achieved a level of consistency as we are getting outplayed all over the park week in week out - and getting stuffed repeatedly.

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    VictorM

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Putneycanary, you make the point about the players being to blame rather than the manager and that the manager has bought in the players? Unfortunately too many players may reflect his personality, feeble and gutless. Who are the fighters in the team , Riuddy, Martin! Johnson, maybe Hoolahan, none of them bought in by CH

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    Canaryinslovenia

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • ... Oh, and instead of going into games looking to get 'something' from it, how about going into EVERY game, home & away, looking WIN rather than spoil.

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    Clothcap

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • He has had a season and a half and is still looking for his best formulae. How long does he want?

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Putney, I agree with you. Also, Hughton makes a good point. West Brom are only 1 point ahead of us in the table. Who will say they have been struggling? So, if we are struggling and wanting to sack our manager, and we are only 1 point behind a team doing great, then something must be missing. Misplaced targets, maybe? I said this from the start, you dont bring in 8 new players and expect to hit the ground running. Doesnt happen often. We will be fine. Its been a tough set of games so far and we need to get behind Hughton and the team to get some good runs and get rub of luck, and we will be doing even better than the good sides and the likes of W Brom. OTBC! IHIT!!

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    Ghana Dom

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • mr Pydsodd, you should be aware that since the advent of colour television over 40 years ago, the Baggies have played in dark blue and white. Prior to that of course it was black and white.

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    SussexYellow

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Putneycanary, you make the point about the players being to blame rather than the manager and that the manager has bought in the players? Unfortunately too many players may reflect his personality, feeble and gutless. Who are the fighters in the team , Riuddy, Martin! Johnson, maybe Hoolahan, none of them bought in by CH

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    Canaryinslovenia

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • I was a Hughton fan, but now all i can say why is he still here mc dally? what is it 7 wins in a year and you have done nothing about it, is it time you moved on as well? what has happened to mc nasty? has th pl money made you all soft? By this mans admission he is still looking for the right formula, well if he is still looking and still drawing his millions a year, give him the compensation and tell him to stick it up his gunners entrance, and get in someone who really cares.And before you ask the man at Cardiff be prepared for lots of groveling after what we did to him last time.

    Report this comment

    acornlake

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

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