Chris Hughton - Never write off my Norwich City players
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton insisted the manner of Norwich City's brave Premier League comeback win against West Ham underlined you must never write off his players.
The Canaries overwhelmed the visitors in the second period after Ravel Morrison's opener ratcheted up the pressure on Hughton, with Gary Hooper, Robert Snodgrass and Leroy Fer sealing a priceless win. City's mass celebrations in front of Hughton's technical area after Fer had slotted a stoppage third appeared the perfect riposte from a squad embarrassed by their efforts the previous weekend at a rampant Manchester City.
Hughton has now urged his side to use a stirring victory over the Hammers as a catalyst to transform their fluctuating fortunes after the international break.
'We told the players afterwards we have to build on it,' he said. 'I look back to the Arsenal game last season at a similar stage and that was a springboard to go on to better things. We have been on the back of some heavy defeats recently against some of the best teams, but there is always a spirit among these players.
'There is no doubt when things go badly there is a different feel around the group. Training has always remained good but going in on a Monday morning after a win is a lot different. The players were clinging to the belief that we had played well at times in this recent spell, but on the back of two heavy defeats we needed to get rid of that feeling.
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'We certainly need to build on this but overall our home form has not been too bad if I look at Cardiff and Chelsea, but you must get the goals to win games and we haven't done it until now. I think it was a real will and determination shown by the lads that brought us the third goal right at the end.'
Hughton was adamant there had been no major inquest at the interval to trigger such an emphatic response following an opening period largely dominated by the Hammers' slick midfield.
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'Our message was all about composure. The last thing you can afford to do is play a game that becomes so open and gung ho and you are 2-0 down and then it almost becomes impossible,' he said. 'We tweaked things a little bit at half-time and we probably needed to change the emphasis of the way West Ham pack midfield. We wanted to get Jonny Howson to come off the shape a little bit more and try to condense the play in their half.
'What we had to make sure we did was just apply ourselves a little better, to pressure them more and when the break came to capitalise on it. It is a tricky one because if you press too high you can empty that midfield area, but we were a bit more aggressive and sometimes it is just a goal that can spark things off.
'Once we got it I was always fairly comfortable from that moment we could go on and win it. It is always going to be tense at the end because West Ham have great runners from the middle and we'd had a couple of chances to get that third one.'
Hughton conceded Jussi Jaaskelainen's rush of blood to haul down Hooper, who in turn despatched the penalty that sparked the revival, was a key episode, but the Norwich chief felt the tide would have turned.
'The penalty is a big moment but I was still confident we could create chances,' he said. 'Of course we'll take how it came about and it lifted the players and the whole stadium.'