Chris Hughton - Norwich City’s players must accept responsibility after conceding soft goals in Newcastle Premier League loss
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton insisted his players must take personal responsibility for the manner they gifted Newcastle a first half lead in Norwich's 2-1 Premier League defeat at St James' Park.
The dangerous Loic Remy was left unattended at the far post to finish from point blank range after the Canaries failed to cut out Yohan Cabaye's second minute corner. Yoan Gouffran then reacted quickest to John Ruddy's parry after Shola Ameobi had towered above Russell Martin to meet Moussa Sissoko's cross in another painful demonstration of the compliant nature of the visitors' defending on the road.
Leroy Fer's 80th minute header sparked some late anxiety among the home fans after Newcastle had appeared set to coast towards the finish line on Tyneside.
'When you do concede from a set play it is about player responsibility,' said Hughton. 'They are the things that frustrate you. It is a responsibility to make sure you close to your man, particularly that early in the game, because it gives Newcastle a lift and they are then in the ascendancy right from the start. Generally we have been quite good defending set plays and it is one we sort of pride ourselves on.
'There was nothing over-elaborate about the goal. I think they put the extra man in the box so they had six in there, but from our point of view it is a soft goal and that goes for the second one as well.
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'Sometimes there is a touch of fortune where the ball drops but it should have been normal, basic defending for us; whether that is against Newcastle or whoever. The players have their areas of responsibility and all you can do is set players up in the right areas. When you concede two soft goals like that it gives you a mountain to climb. It is annoying, but we have to make sure we alleviate those errors and quickly now.'
Hughton was convinced City could still have gone in at the interval with something to show for their efforts after Fabricio Coloccini had denied Fer inside the six-yard box from Ryan Bennett's cut-back before Mike Williamson bailed out Tim Krul when Anthony Pilkington's looping far post header briefly sparked a moment of panic in the home ranks.
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'It wasn't a first half Newcastle had it all their own way, they just had the edge in the pivotal moments,' he said. 'I thought we had three decent chances. Nathan Redmond had a good sight of goal, Pilkington's header just dropped wide and we had one cleared off the line. It wasn't as if we didn't turn up in that first half. We just gave ourselves too much to do in the end; particularly here with Newcastle being on the back of two good wins. You just can't afford to be 2-0 down at half-time and certainly not 1-0 down after the first two minutes. That is where we have made life too difficult for ourselves. We had some good periods and managed to create some chances in that first half and rallied well in the second and made a real good go of it, but ultimately it is those goals we conceded that have done for us. They have strong, offensive players and they were quite direct at times. Shola is a very, very good player who allows Newcastle to be a bit direct in their play and in Remy alongside him he has someone who is as good as there is at present with that ability to run in behind.'