Chris Hughton left to lament Norwich City’s lack of end product
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's blunt attacking edge compounded Chris Hughton's frustration at the manner of Stoke's match-winning goal which settled a drab Premier League affair in the Potteries.
The Canaries were breached just once at the Britannia, but the source of Stoke's success was entirely predictable as the aerial power of Peter Crouch and the muscular distractions provided by Cameron Jerome allowed Charlie Adam free reign to rifle past Mark Bunn.
Norwich failed to test Asmir Begovic in an echo of their recent away trip to rivals Wigan and Hughton admitted such low productivity helped seal their fate.
'I thought we got into good areas where it looked like we were going to threaten but there was just not enough at the end of it,' he said. 'There are the two sides of the game and you need to be strong and physical but create opportunities. They defended well and we didn't make the most of our opportunities or the positions we were able to get in. We had some good crossing positions in and around their box and we did not make the most of it.
'I wouldn't accuse my players of not wanting it enough or not trying enough or lack of effort. On given days we are capable of quality. When we had our moments to drive from midfield and keep possession we didn't. You hope that in the second half period as the game opens up you can capitalise on that.'
Hughton opted to revive the system which came within minutes of an upset at Arsenal earlier this month, with Kei Kamara deployed wider in a midfield bolstered by the return of Alex Tettey.
'I chose to play three in the middle of the park because we were quite successful at Arsenal – not result wise but certainly in the performance – a couple of weeks ago and I felt I would take that same formation into this game,' he said.
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'Probably because of what they had in their style of play I thought it would benefit us, just having that little bit of a shield, because you know that otherwise Crouchy is just going to be knocking balls on all afternoon.
'I just felt we could work off that shape and certainly I would have wanted more from us. We tried to change it with putting Wes (Hoolahan) into that hole and going 4-4-2 and in that last period we went with three at the back and pushed Anthony (Pilkington) wide. We certainly outnumbered them in the middle of the park and I didn't think we made good enough use of that.'
Norwich's containment policy was wrecked by Adam's sharp strike immediately after the restart.
'It was so disappointing to concede in the manner we did,' said Hughton. 'I felt we were up against a Stoke side at their most direct and most physical. That is how they are and you have to be able to cope with it. I felt we did in the first half. We spoke about it at half-time that if anything they might possibly get even more direct. They are a resilient side. They are a big team and they got bodies behind the ball very well.
'To concede that goal so early in the second half really hurt us. After containing them for that period of time we felt we could work our way into the game. Unfortunately the timing of the goal really hurt us. We didn't create enough chances. People have mentioned they have got back to basics and you could see that here.'