Chris Hughton - Norwich City’s lack of sharpness exposed by San Jose in 1-0 friendly defeat

Chris Hughton felt San Jose's greater fitness levels tipped the balance in Norwich City's 1-0 USA to

Chris Hughton felt San Jose's greater fitness levels tipped the balance in Norwich City's 1-0 USA tour defeat. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton admitted Norwich City were punished for one defensive lapse in their 1-0 USA tour defeat to San Jose Earthquakes.

Cordell Cato pounced on a rare error from Russell Martin to calmly slot a weak back pass underneath Mark Bunn in the seventh minute. City gave debuts to both Dutch imports Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Leroy Fer but it was the MLS side who looked more likely to add to their slender lead.

'I think what it showed was that these are a team who are midway through their league season and this is of course our second week of pre-season. I think it showed a bit,' he said. 'We had a very good period in that 25 minute spell before half-time and certainly on chances it was fairly even. I thought we had two when Ricky (van Wolfswinkel) was through and Nathan (Redmond) on a one-versus-one. We conceded a poor goal, certainly, but it was probably the test we wanted and it showed where they are in their season.

Probably if we reflect back on it that is what the game hinged on. That was the only real difference. I thought we had two real good efforts first half but on both occasions we couldn't manage to make the most of those opportunities. These were sharp. Even right at the back they had two centre-halves who weren't the biggest or tallest but very competitive. These are the ideal type of games. We don't like losing any games because it is a mentality thing and you want the players not to get used to losing but that isn't the most important thing at this stage is that we come through with no injuries. We expected a test. The first game against Dorados would be a different type of game and this was very much a case of upping the level. This is the reason why we are here.'

City's club-record signing van Wolfswinkel earned himself a first half yellow card after a brief running skirmish with Quakes' defenders Brad Ring and Dan Gargan, but Hughton was happy with the club record signing's work.

'He was keen to get going. He looked sharp and he knew before hand that he was playing 45 minutes,' he said. 'He played like a man who very much wanted to get the most out of those 45 minutes. He put himself around and but for some good, quick defending he might have been on scoresheet. He picked up a yellow card which I thought was a little bit unfair but he is prepared to mix it. I thought the yellow on him was the correct one and because the incident happened pretty soon after I don't know if the referee felt he had to book him. I didn't think it warranted a booking. But he certainly looked lively.'