Norwich City’s strikeforce have to master the mind games to boost their Premier League goal tally

Norwich City striker Gary Hooper was denied twice at West Ham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City striker Gary Hooper was denied twice at West Ham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Friday, February 14, 2014
7:00 AM

Chris Hughton has urged Norwich City’s strikers to prove they can handle the mind games to boost the club’s paltry Premier League goal tally.

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The Canaries’ latest blank in a 2-0 defeat at West Ham meant Hughton’s squad have now mustered 19 goals in 26 league games to slip ever closer to the bottom three.

Hughton knows five-goal top scorer Gary Hooper and the rest of Norwich’s frontline must prove their worth where it matters over the run-in.

“We work on finishing most days, certainly the strikers and wide players, but it is about doing it on a match day when the pressure is on to produce. We have found it difficult,” he said. “Where we have improved is defensively as a unit. The area we still need to improve is goals.

“Even in a game like Manchester City where a draw was a fair result we had those late chances to change the game. You look at a team like Manchester City and the number of goals they have scored and it shows the quality of the individuals they have to convert those chances. We need to be a little more aggressive ourselves in the same situations.”

Hughton has shuffled personnel and formations in recent weeks in a bid to unlock the Canaries’ scoring potential.

“We have got to look at ourselves because if we are creating the amount of chances we have then you have to be scoring goals,” he said. “The concern is obviously there but it would be a bigger concern if we were not creating chances. If you don’t create chances you look as a manager at how to change things to get ourselves into goalscoring positions. Do you play two up top, do you work on wide players getting into the box? We can only keep doing lots of finishing on the training pitch and we have to be more clinical.”

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53 comments

  • Get it????

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    sharky

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Good idea, jops. trouble is, it`s getting a bit late in the day. Pity there is no proper Reserve Team football these days. I don`t think Hughton is greatly blessed with the gift of lateral thinking. I can`t help thinking of Father Dougall McGuire when I see Chrissy expounding. No wish to be acrimonious, but I am rather embittered by the fact Archie deleted my "sheesh Kebab" puns, all intended to lighten the mood and broker peace `twixt the warring factions. `You`re turn` Don G...

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    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

  • Scored 19 times for Spurs, Stew. Not sure they were all from behind the half-way line...

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    Pierre

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I don't buy into this 'defensive and negative football' vibe that some keep harping on about. I've not seen it myself and I go to all home games and have been to a couple away. If we were defensive and negative we would not still be holding this seasons record for shots at goal i.e. versus Cardiff at home. Nor would we have created so many chances against West Ham earlier this week. Its total tosh and from what I see we are just as much an attacking side as others in this league. Our problem is purely one of quality of service to our strikers - in particular that from the wings. In Snodgrass we have a winger who wants to do it all himself, and for all the excitement that Redmond brings to a match he prefers to lash at a wild shot rather than look up and put the ball through to a player in a better goal scoring position.

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Stew, sharky`s not that bad. The ones you have to watch are the seemingly level-headed ones like Dubai, BP2, Barking Wijs and Gek Brouwer. Remember, `Steady On` has only apparently disappeared, but he`s out there somewhere. Lurking malevolently. Just biding his time, waiting for his chance to spring something intellectual on us all - like "moron", "stupid", "pant-wetter" or "old". You have been warned.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Break in training at the Bernabau Sharky?

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    el dingo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Most practical way to boost strikers confidence is to sacrifice under 21 team balance for rest of season for our premier league survival.. We can play 3 overage outfield players each game in the under 21s but since September 23rd we have used none at all. Becchio, RVW, Hoolahan, Howson (when fit), Snodgrass (if rested), Hooper (if misfiring), Elmander.. all of these could benefit from competitive match practise to find their form and most importantly the confidence in their finishing... to me it is a no-brainer.

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    jops

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

  • MY, You are correct in that we have been more attack minded in many recent games, however against Man City we were rightly very defensive with two holding midfielders. I no longer go to away games so have to rely on radio reports but it seems we changed from an attacking set up against WHU to a defensive one with 20 minutes to go and that cost us at least a point, more concerning though it gave them all three points. The main problem with our coaching set up it the fact that they are all defensive coaches but even that has not worked thus far this season. The management team as a whole failed to recognise what was required up front and spent all their money on round pegs for a square holes I fear. Two old style no 10's but no decent target man.

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    TrevorKeith

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • All the Norwich strikers lack the belief they can both beat the goalkeeper and hit the target. Aston Villa were just as bad at Cardiff. The very last chance Villa had appeared to be out of David Marshall's reach. Goal? No, Marshall made a brilliant save. Nil nil the final score. Should have been the same or better at the Boleyn Ground! Hughton officially is still in post as City are not in the bottom three. No replacement has been found. Cardiff and Fulham have sacked managers and for no gain. Hughton got the substitutions wrong at Upton Park. Is there a trend here? Rhetorical question! Putting Elmander on implied we ware playing for a draw. Sam Allardyce knew this. The one player who has come good during our poor run is Redmond. Nathan is the main reason City are creating decent chances - at last. His improved play means Snodgrass can be substituted, ahem. If City subs are ineffective it is partially down to the fact they come on too late. A different manager would address these issues. However City struggle to control the midfield, keep hold of the ball and pose little threat in the box. Not easy to solve that, whatever the tactics.

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    Capri

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Good points about Becchio though....The guy hasn't had a proper opportunity to show what he can do. Not instead of Hoops though in my opinion....both together perhaps. However, I don't think Suarez would be half the striker he is if he was playing for us (see my earlier post).

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • OK, prob the most overused cliche of all time, but Einstein had a point...Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

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    JimBob

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Stupid sod

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    sharky

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • This article seems to lay the blame for lack of goals at the door of our strikers but I think the problem is bigger than that. The aim of the game is to score goals and this should be a priority for all members of the team when given the opportunity. Opportunity, however, does not just present itself it has to be created. Lately, in the last three games, we have been creating more opportunities and for me the goal against Cardiff illustrates what we should be doing more regularly i.e. Olsen running beyond the defense with the ball slid through to the runner who then crosses to give Snodgrass an opportunity even he cannot miss. The point about this is that each player considered their delivery to a team mate as opposed to just knocking it in the general direction of a colleague and leaving them to make of it what they can. I also think that at times midfield play has become a matter of simply moving the ball to a team mate and loosing site of the end product of creating an opportunity. I do think that CH is beginning to perceive that if you rely totally on defense a failure in that area of the field means you lose as offense has been compromised in the process of making defense a priority. The team formation for much of this season has not been unduly defensive as the 5 in midfield has usually consisted of 3 proper midfielders and 2 wingers whose defensive abilities are somewhat questionable. Can it be turned around sufficiently to save us from the drop?? Theoretically it can be changed in the next game by virtue of team selection and formation. The only potential problem is that players may not be able to kick the habits that have been hammered into them over the previous 26 games so easily.

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    NICEONE

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I am always surprised at how good a player is perceived to be when he is not in the team. I seem to recall that when Wes was playing regularly, many fans said he was too one footed, wasteful with the ball by giving it away too often and not big enough to cope in the PL.

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    Abraham

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Civil war can sometimes be acramonius, even when your fighting for the same side. Ah for a goal, my kingdom for a goal that we might have a group hug. I'm putting a tenner on JR for the next

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Its says something about a persons intelligence if they cant work that one out Shes!!!!

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    sharky

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • It's simple this is the result of your defensive, negative, ineffective football you have been coaching for 6 months. Now it looks like your falling on your incredibly dull sword its proving difficult to turn the team around isn't it. You have stripped the players confidence and belief and now your repping the rewards.

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    Burglecut

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • All my hope rests in Hooper...ok he may have missed a few chances but he always gets in the dangerous positions and his first touch is usually excellent.... the most likely to do the business in my humble opinion. OTBC

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    GossVolley

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Correction, finger slipped and it should read "who has sat so patiently"

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    blackdog2

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • 6 months? more like 18 months! Becchio deserves a start, regardless of all this "he obviously isn't doing it in training" its on the pitch that counts and he looks more likely to score with the few minutes we've seen of him that RvWW does!!

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    kevin

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I`m surprised nobody has started a conspiracy theory on why Hughton won`t give Becchio a chance. Perhaps I just have? Just as there who slyly imply there is some sinister hidden agenda in fans wanting Hughton out, perhaps the same applies to the senseless way LB is being treated by `Mother Theresa`. Incidentally, my reason for wanting Hughton out is quite simple: I believe he has proven to be a p*** poor manager of NCFC. That`s all.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • To old for training now Dingo. Cant blow my cover sorry. Like everyone here, I,m hurting and grumpy

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    sharky

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • It's simple this is the result of your defensive, negative, ineffective football you have been coaching for 6 months. Now it looks like your falling on your incredibly dull sword its proving difficult to turn the team around isn't it. You have stripped the players confidence and belief and now your repping the rewards.

    Report this comment

    Burglecut

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Two simple remedies to the ongoing problem of not scoring goals. There are two players, Hoolahan who is part of the future so we are told and likewise Becchio who has say so patiently all season. If he is no good why on earth did we not get rid of him? He has always scored goals and surely to goodness he cannot do any worse than those that have tried and failed so miserably. Is it the Hoots cannot spell his name to put it on the teamsheet? Against Spurs start with Becchio and Hooper, give him a fair crack at it and then if he is no good at least he has had a go, this way he might as well go out and play for someone who will appreciate him.

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    blackdog2

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Okay Sharky. I feel the same.

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    el dingo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • …..Abraham you may well be right!...Hughton listened to the fans then it seems, but no longer does so...There is something extremely large, and disturbing in his rejection of Hoolahan, added to Benchio, Garrido , R. Bennett,and Fox...Is he frightened that he may have to eat humble pie if he did a straight swap for Hoolahan and Snodgrass...The out come could not be worse!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Stew, I know I shouldn't ask, but I'm going to anyway. My anagram solver has drawn a blank with "Pydsodd", so what's all that about? Help me with this one. Thanks.

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    User Removed

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Well yes 18 months but I was discounting last season as I wiped it from my memory to save space for better things like the curling and world grass growing championships! And granted Becchio does deserve a start or two maybe hooper and becchio up front could be a winning combo. If he is worse than rvw in training he most be catatonic

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    Burglecut

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • As I said before. I would have started with the Man C team. Its all about opinions. We all have them. Right or wrong.

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    sharky

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • ….. Thought this weather would have been up your street Sharky...or do you need a bit more salt with it?.....Dream on!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Good analysis TK. Only the good Lord knows how we scramble out of this muck. ..

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    el dingo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Stew I dont know what you mean. I did want a change but its too late now. I,ve agreed with most of what you say except Snodgrass. Like you I am mystified by some of the decisions made. I was at West Ham. We played very well, but I couldnt believe what he did. There was a long exchange of ideas for changing it. The three of them came up with daft subs in that situation. I wonder if Calderwood is happy for him to go so he can be in temp charge to show what he can do. We are not down yet.

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    sharky

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Who's " Shes" ? Help me with this one Sparky. Thanks.

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    User Removed

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • The fact is the team have played well of late. The criticism C.H is getting is unfair, the players' dreadful finishing has let him down, however I would like to know what is going on with Becchio. He should have been given his chance, I would like to see him start a game then the onus is on him to show what he can do and maybe he is out best striker.

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    Johny

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Why has Walter Mitty been cloned so many times? It`s beyond belief. On the Hoolahan rejection conspiracy, I reckon Hughton just does not like Irish players. It`s because he was forced to play for the ROI because his Mum was Irish - and she was an England fanatic. His ambition was to play for the Chrismass Islands. Grappig oud weld.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Break in training at the Bernabau Sharky?

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    el dingo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Hadnt bothered to read this article but after reading it just now the final paragraph felt more like Hughton was asking us how to solve the lack of goals problem. Dont want to be petty but thats kind of his responsibility. Us fans get mocked for making suggestions because we've never managed a Premier League team. Chris has kinda made the point ive been making for ages totally clear. No matter what he does it doesn't change anything. Hes basically said that in so many words. Dont expect him to suddenly find the answer either judging by that article. Reason to worry justified? I think so.

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    Mattias333

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • We don't score goals because we have greedy players who are not satisfied with providing chances because they want the glory of scoring themselves. Snodgrass is the classic example and look no further than that useless lump of lard called Pilkington who, against Man City went for personal glory instead of passing the ball to someone in a better scoring position. We see similar at every home game. Granted our strikers miss what we perceive to be sitters but because of our greedy players they do not get enough chances to hone their skills. Ultimately the fault lies with the coaching staff. They are poor, have no idea of how to get the best from the team. The substitutions against West Ham show that. The West Ham fans could not believe their luck when we took Redmond off and were relieved we did not bring Hoolahan on. Trollope and Calderwood would struggle if they coached at Wroxham,.....no wonder Norwich are struggling. Let them go.

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    Timberman

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • …..MY!... I agree fully with the second half of your comments....You are just repeating the words of many others on here...Snodgrass ruins the balance and inhibits the other players from expressing themselves and feeling 'equal'!....We as a team, play much better when he is not present!... .Redmond has a problem by trying to emulate him instead of doing the job that he is on the pitch to do!...Both these situations lay at the door of the Manager, and I'm sorry to say he cannot see beyond the end of his stubborn attitude.... How could he face the press and be accused of listening to other views?.... I think his problem is that although he reached the dizzy heights of Full Back with the outstanding Irish team , and filled a gap at Spurs for some time...he probably never put a foot over the half way line, and has no idea as to what goes on in the oppositions half! ….But who can he turn to, to give him the advice he so desperately needs? ....Answer ...2 more Full Backs!..... Nice one NICE ONE...Capri the name that you are looking for is Hoolahan !.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • The attack, or counterattack has looked much better, more incisive and quicker in the last 2 games and created more chances. Just need to take them.....please.

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    pablo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Good analysis TK. Only the good Lord knows how we scramble out of this muck. ..

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • It's simple this is the result of your defensive, negative, ineffective football you have been coaching for 6 months. Now it looks like your falling on your incredibly dull sword its proving difficult to turn the team around isn't it. You have stripped the players confidence and belief and now your repping the rewards.

    Report this comment

    Burglecut

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I think you`re probably right there, GV. What little I`ve seen of Becchio, he also seems to have a deft touch - I remember his interplay with Howson in the game vs Warm Beach Awaits (last season!). But it`s clear that Hughton doesn`t want the once prolific goalscorer HE SIGNED from Leeds. It`s no dafter than the Butterfield fiasco, or the cack-footed winger obsession, or the crass treatment of Hoolahan, or his fixation on Salamander... or any other of the maladroit management decisions he`s made while draining the blood out of the squad. This guy`s had about £35m to spend since he`s been here, far more than any previous manager. Even Gunn has a better record - at least he snaffled up Holty. And Lambert achieved much of his success with bargain-basement signings from Gillingham, Peterborough, Colchester & Brighton etc. Plus he turned around Wes`s career and got the best out of Holt. He even got a performance out of Beccles Boy! (Who is doing well at Derby now). Conversely, Hughton threw away Vaughan and has reduced RvW to a pale, shadowy figure on the periphery of the action. A bit like Norwich fans are now.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Sharky! I`ve just spotted your `Calderwood in charge` posting. Clearly a wind-up, but please don`t even say it in jest. The Sum of all Fears. Calderwood!!! Not until Hell freezes over, or Snodgrass comprehends teamwork. My bet`s on a cryogenically preserved Hades. Or Becchio getting a start. Probably be in goal if it ever happens.

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    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

  • Tried to say that, blackdog, plus a few other bits, but cannot get past the barricade.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Break in training at the Bernabau Sharky?

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    el dingo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • …..Hello there Brew!...I make what I think are sensible suggestions, but they always seems to get under Sharky's skin. ...As the ex-manager of a mystery team, that seems strange, because most intelligent people, of which he tells us he is one, would at least give another viewpoint consideration....He is on the verge of following SO in his attitude towards others, as he did on these boards, when she presented her one eyed view....I hope they are not related!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • …..OK Sharky!..... Truce is on the cards!¬....But I would swap Snodgrass for just about any other decent footballer who happened to be more interested in the team results than his constant belittling of team mates.... The eleven that are chosen start on equal footing with each other at this level of football... His efforts are not successful in spite of the hard work he makes us think he is putting in...It is therefore time for a different approach to our attacking problems.... and swapping him with Hoolahan could well be the answer!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I will help you Barking. It's a polite word for "Jeez" and often used as an expression of frustration by top soccer managers. Which Sharky is. Of course. But he can't say where. Cos it's a secret. Walter Mitty has a lot to answer for.

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    el dingo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Play Bunn and Nash.

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    el dingo

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Obviously Stew appreciated the irony even if you didn't Sharky. But thanks anyway, I know you were only trying to be helpful. Regards, Neurotic Ssod (work that one out...here's a clue: it's something we sometimes call our beloved manager).

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    User Removed

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I don`t know about Becchio, I can recall hearing one of the Leeds journalists saying on the radio at the time of his move . "Becchio is not a premier league player!" This and his showing in training might be the answer?

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    willb

    Friday, February 14, 2014

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