Chris Hughton is prepared to risk the wrath of Norwich City fans
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton is prepared to risk the wrath of supporters in the best interests of Norwich City.
Nathan Redmond's second half substitution sparked a critical response from large sections of the home support as Hughton looked to his bench to retrieve a match decided by Libor Kozak's 30th minute strike. Hughton needs no reminding of Redmond's huge impact at Carrow Road, with the England Under-21 starlet scooping the club's player-of-the-month award prior to kick-off.
'I understand where the supporters are coming from because they are very passionate about their football team and they want it to win,' he said. 'Nathan has come in and already he is a fans' favourite here but I generally felt with Robert Snodgrass' performance, although it was be fair to say it was in and out, if we were going to get something it could come from that right-hand side and the link between him and Russell Martin.
'Whatever else you say about Snoddy he is a lad who will keep going. Even in bad periods of the game with Robert where he might produce a poor cross or get dispossessed you know he will keep going. We managed to get Russ through on a couple of occasions and had balls flying into the box from that side whereas Nathan in that period was shackled quite well. Whenever he got the ball he had two or three players around him.
'Those are the decisions I have to make and even after the changes we continued to create chances.'
Redmond has long credited Hughton as a major formative influence during his initial breakthrough at Birmingham and the City boss was quick to caution his highly-rated youngster must be handled with care following the step up to the big time.
'I think both in the position he plays and his age there is always going to be those ups and downs. You don't expect someone of his age to play every minute of every game,' he said. 'You have to pick the right moments to bring him in and out. That is my job. It wasn't a case of him not playing well or not working hard enough. He just didn't get so much joy for us on that left-hand side.
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'In that moment when we decided to change it, perhaps the crowd feels it is not the right decision to substitute Nathan, but I am bringing on a player in Anthony Pilkington who has scored goals for us in that position and is a full international.'
Snodgrass' eventful afternoon began with a pivotal role in the early penalty saved by Brad Guzan when the Scot appeared to pull rank on Ricky van Wolfswinkel to take the seventh minute spot kick.
'Sometimes what you will have on that occasion is a lad who feels very confident that he is going to put it away. That was very much the case with Robert,' said Hughton. 'On the bench we were all expecting Ricky to take it. I expected him to take it and if we get one in the future then I would expect him to take it. If you have an inspired goalkeeper who guesses the right way it is tough. It gave them a lift when we could have used that momentum.'
Hughton felt his side were hard done by on the balance of play.
'On occasions when we haven't deserved to get anything we have been quick to put our hands up. Like at Tottenham,' he said. 'I don't think that was the case. What we lacked was a bit of quality, fortune and guile to get us a result.'