Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Chris Hughton insists he never doubted Norwich City would get back to winning ways in the Premier League.
The Canaries’ last-gasp 2-1 win over Everton at Carrow Road was their first top flight success since a pre-festive defeat at West Brom ended their 10-game club-record Premier League unbeaten run.
“I didn’t think we deserved to lose there over the Christmas period. It was a tight game,” reflected Hughton on his side’s 2-1 Hawthorns’ reverse. “We had four matches at that stage that we lost by one goal. I think the performances have been good enough. There are games we have lost we perhaps haven’t deserved to win, but they have been close games. Apart from the FA Cup game, I would say we have had three bad defeats, two against Liverpool and one against Fulham. In every other game, we’ve either been in the game or I’ve been quite happy with what I’ve seen. Those are the margins. When you are up against so many good teams it’s very difficult.”
Norwich’s weekend win over the Toffees was a huge boost to their survival prospects after edging eight points clear of the current bottom three.
“In the end, there is only one thing that matters and that is come the last game of the season, we’re still in this division, we’ve got enough points to still be in it,” said Hughton.
“It’s difficult. The teams that can be that consistent are the teams that are used to this division, have the quality and are regular members of the division.
“We’re still striving to be that and along the road with that come the inconsistencies. The spirit has never been lacking. It has been there all season.
“This is a tough league to get wins and if I look how we play, we play a tighter game and perhaps it is difficult to get the wins we want.”
City’s next assignment is a daunting trip to champions-elect Manchester United on Saturday. Norwich’s home Premier League win over the Red Devils marked a high point in Hughton’s tenure, but the City chief ranked his side’s latest Everton comeback in the same bracket.
“Yes, just maybe because of the timing,” he said. “There are pivotal games in the season where the run we were on I just felt we needed a win, so it was right up there with the United and Arsenal games. It gives everybody a lift and a nice feel to go into what is the hardest game in our football calendar. This was a big win for us. I watched Everton’s game at Manchester United where they lost 2-0 and I thought David Moyes was probably a little bit unfair on his own team, because I thought they were excellent to go to Old Trafford, and to have the possession they did. They are a very good team, full of top-class players and any victory against the likes of them is always a big one.”