Chris Hughton admits Leroy Fer ‘goal’ controversy marred Norwich City’s Premier League draw against Cardiff City

Norwich City midfielder Leroy Fer is surrounded by angry Cardiff City players afer rolling into an empty net in stoppage...

Norwich City midfielder Leroy Fer is surrounded by angry Cardiff City players afer rolling into an empty net in stoppage time of the 0-0 Premier League draw at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton admitted he would not have wanted to earn a Premier League win over Cardiff City through the contentious circumstances surrounding Leroy Fer's disallowed goal.

Bluebirds' boss Malky Mackay revealed in his post-match interviews Hughton and assistant Colin Calderwood had offered immediate redress if Fer's rolled finish into an unguarded net had been allowed to stand deep in stoppage time. Hughton adopted a more conciliatory stance towards his Dutch midfielder than ex-City stalwart Mackay after a goalless draw which kept his side mired in the bottom three.

'I know it's a contentious one and it wouldn't have left a nice feeling because as a manager you would have a decision to make and it is not the way I would want to win the game,' he said. 'It was a strange incident. If the referee had allowed it then of course there would have been a major debate and it would have left a big question mark. My initial impression from the reaction of the referee was that he wasn't going to give the goal. After it went in there was a fair bit of emotion. There was a coming together of a number of players and it was a very contentious episode.

'I have seen it happen before in the game but I can't remember too many that I have been directly involved in. I don't have any problems with how the incident was cleared up. I wanted us to win by taking the numerous chances we had.'

Hughton accepted such a potential flashpoint should have provided a mere footnote if Norwich had cashed in on their overwhelming first half domination.

'It was one of those frustrating days,' he said. 'Of course you have to give Cardiff credit. They threw bodies in front of the ball when they needed to, they got bodies back behind the ball and the keeper had a very good day. Particularly in that first half I don't think we could have created any more chances. We got the ball into good areas, we threatened and I thought we played at a really good tempo. I thought we were excellent in that first half.

'There won't be many Premier League games when you are as dominant on the ball. You could pull out so many good performances from our side. The three in midfield, in particular, I felt drove us on. Perhaps in the second half, we experienced a drop, which is normal, but I thought it was a game we dominated and had plenty of goalscoring opportunities.'

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Hughton denied the Canaries were slow to counter-act Mackay's double half-time change that was designed to bolster his midfield in the face of Norwich's gathering onslaught.

'What they did do was put on (Don) Cowie, who is perhaps more of a solid midfield player than (Peter) Odemwingie who gives them more in forward areas, but I think there was always going to be that dip at some stage,' said Hughton. 'We had so much dominance in the first half and it is so difficult to sustain that for 90 minutes. I still felt we continued to create chances. (Anthony) Pilkington's was the one you thought was going to go in second half and I felt our set pieces were very good, but Cardiff defended well and rode their luck. Anyone watching that will agree we should have won.'