Chris Hughton ‘knew Norwich City life would be tough’
Chris Hughton insists he took the Norwich City job with his eyes wide open in regard to the size of the task in trying to retain the club's Premier League status.
The Canaries' remain winless in the league after the latest bruising 4-1 defeat at Chelsea. Grant Holt's opener was swiftly cancelled out by a first half onslaught from Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard.
City held the Blues at bay after the interval until Branislav Ivanovic's late half-volley embellished a routine victory for the leaders. Hughton needed no reminding the Canaries' plight is serious, even this early in the new campaign.
'I knew it would be a tough job. I am following somebody who had a very successful three years but we are seven games into a season. There is a lot of football to be played,' he said. 'I don't feel our season was going to be judged on Chelsea and Manchester United away but how we cope with defeats and get back to winning ways. I am realistic about what the challenge is and it is always there. We have to make sure the players are very, very much up for this challenge.
'I think we are realistic where we are. We haven't started as well as we would have liked. Fortunately we are there with a group of teams who also haven't started as well as they would like. We knew this season was going to be a test and it is important everything pulls together and gets the form back we showed before the Liverpool game.
'We are on the back of two very poor games for us. The previous four we were guilty of playing well enough to win games, but not being clinical and finishing teams off.'
Sebastien Bassong made a welcome injury return but City were again over run in similar fashion to the previous weekend's Liverpool mauling at Carrow Road.
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'If I look at it I was probably more upset and disappointed last week because it was a home game,' said Hughton. 'You expect to come here and face a lot of problems and to be asked a lot of questions and it is whether you can cope with it well enough on the day and we didn't.
'I felt all three goals (in the first half) showed we are not defending well enough as a team at the moment. That is the disappointment. The plusses are that against a top, top team we got ourselves in some excellent positions and managed to be a little bit of a threat.
'That is the balance and the result is probably a reflection of where both clubs are at the minute. They have great quality to pick you off and we are just looking too vulnerable.
'As a manager or a coach you will go through the goals but, for me in particular, the first and the third are poor. For the first you expect teams to try and get crosses in and you have to be able to deal with that. We didn't.'
City's defensive slackness undermined a perfect start for the visitors when Holt slammed home Leon Barnett's cushioned far post header.
'To take the lead we certainly needed to be in the game for longer,' said Hughton. 'When you come here, and particularly with the offensive quality these have here now, you know it is going to be a tough ask. You know they will dominate possession and create chances so you have to stay in the game longer. Today there were aspects of our play that was quite decent. Wes (Hoolahan) managed to get on the ball and be a threat in his areas and Alex Tettey in the first half was very good for us.'
Hughton was in no doubt City had felt the full force of a genuine title-challenging team at the Bridge.
'They now have more offensive options and there is no doubt they will be right up there come the end of the season,' he said.