Arsenal injustice can fuel Norwich City against Reading, says Chris Hughton
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Chris Hughton expects Norwich's sense of injustice following the club's controversial Premier League defeat at Arsenal will galvanise his troops for Reading's crunch visit to Carrow Road.
City were within five minutes, plus stoppage time, from clinching a famous win at the Emirates which would have boosted their bid for top flight survival. Hughton felt Norwich suffered the thin end of a series of contentious decisions from the match officials, but the City chief has reiterated the positives ahead of the relegation-threatened Royals' test.
'Our game is built on fighting qualities and sometimes if you feel a little aggrieved that can generate something in a group of lads,' he said. 'We have three home games out of the five and we have to make sure we make the most of them. It won't be hard to dust these down because they are a good group. They felt aggrieved and so did I. I think before the (Arsenal) game, apart from our changing room, not too many would have expected us to get anything given the form Arsenal were in. It isn't going to be about games at the Emirates and Old Trafford but our home form. It's how we respond and I am absolutely certain that we will get a good response.'
Hughton rejects the notion a struggling Reading outfit offer the ideal opportunity for his side to claim a vital Premier League win.
'There's no perfect opponents. The only perfect ones are the ones you get results from and we need to make sure we get a result,' he said. 'We're still in there fighting and at this moment we have another 15 points up for grabs and we've got to get as many as we can. To go the Emirates and play as well as we did shows a lot of character. We felt they have had some elements go in their favour, but we have to dust ourselves down.
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'There is no doubt we felt aggrieved after the game. That is in the past. You have to make sure you put yourselves in the best possible frame of mind. You hope the good decisions go for you and that hasn't been the case of late. We've perhaps been on the wrong end of a few poor decisions, but Saturday is another game and we have to make sure we do our best on the pitch for that to happen.'
City defender Russell Martin admitted there had been genuine anger in the visiting ranks after their trip to the Emirates.
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'It was really hard to take. I've not felt as hurt after a game, probably ever – for a long, long time at least,' he said. 'It's not a nice feeling, but I hope they even themselves up over the course of a season. We've had a few questionable ones lately but it's tough for the officials when this league is so physical and so fast. I'm not going to come out and blast the officials. The lads were devastated, to be honest. We all felt aggrieved but it's up to us to get over it. It's been a good week. We had a meeting on Monday about it, as we always do, then you move on and you go again. It's gone now and we can't do anything to change it.'