Chris Hughton - Norwich City’s Premier League project was too good an offer to pass up
Chris Hughton had only been in the job a matter of hours but he already knows what makes Norwich City tick in the Premier League.
The Canaries' new boss inevitably plans to dip into the transfer market, but only to enrich an existing talent pool which he believes has proven itself more than capable of repeating their initial top flight success.
'It's a young squad and what comes with that squad is what you would expect – bundles of enthusiasm,' he said. 'They have a wonderful work ethic and I think if I look at the team there are a lot of players who have come up from the Championship.
'What they are is young and hungry players. It's a nice recipe to have and when you've got players pulling in the right direction, which it is quite obvious that they have done over the last few seasons, it's no surprise what you can achieve.
'What I'd like to think is you have the benefit now of players here who've got a season's experience of playing in the Premier League. You'd like to think if any of them were daunted by the prospect of it a year ago, they are less frightened by the prospect of it now.
'That's the good thing and that comes with experience, playing against the best players and there is no better feeling than for a player to win games at the highest level.'
Hughton, however, also delivered a gentle warning that past achievements come with a limited shelf life.
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'At the beginning of next season, it's a fresh start, a new start. Teams that have excelled one season might find it more difficult the next season and vice-versa.
'It's just a completely different scenario,' he said. 'Irrespective of whether it's Norwich, West Brom, Stoke or Wigan, these are all teams that at one stage were in the Championship, have gone into the Premier League and managed to sustain a period there.
'But what they will do every season, they have to make the decisions that will either try to improve themselves and, at times, do something a little bit different because each season is a new challenge. Last season was a super season for the club and rightly so, the club deserved the plaudits on and off the pitch, but we start again and I'm very much looking forward to that.
'We have a team that has done well in the Premier League last season and I have to try to pick the good bits out of that. It's a new start and I have to assess lots of things.'
Hughton is well versed in managing expectations after successfully tempering the astronomical demands at Newcastle before a no less impressive stint under trying financial circumstances at Birmingham. City under his tenure will aim to progress by stealth.
'As opposed to talking about (league) positions where you can finish, it's about the club moving forward,' he said.
'With Paul (Lambert) as manager over the last three years and the fine work the club has done over that period of time, it has enabled this club to be where we are now and it's about moving forward and making progress.
'That's not just about finishing position in the league. It's about the standing of the club, ensuring its status – not for one season but many seasons – or the aspects of the club you feel you can grow, what development there is and what possibilities there are at the club.
'I've been very impressed with the conversations that I've had with David (McNally) on where the club is and how they want to move forward. It's all part of a project and I'm delighted to be involved in that.'
Part of those deliberations with City's chief executive have inevitably centred on Hughton's potential transfer budget.
'We have had conversations, of course, but the bigger conversations will start once we get through the first day because I have been in for a very short period of time and there are other details that had to be sorted out first,' he said.
'There will be a budget to work on bringing players in – but that's probably not the most important thing at this moment.
'There is a squad of players here that has fared very well, not only last season but over the last few seasons and it's a question of getting to know them, getting to know the quality of the players and assess where we can strengthen, because this is a tough and demanding league, and so we need to look where we can strengthen and where we can make ourselves better as a team and as a squad.
'This is a club that wants to make progress and wants to move forward and have a sustained period in the Premier League and that is what David has very much told me.'
Hughton is well aware he has inherited a football club on the up with a financial stability singularly absent at St Andrews.
But he also knows there are big challenges ahead – chief among them over these coming days to convince Grant Holt to remain a Canary. Hughton can at least call on some inside knowledge with his trusted assistant, Colin Calderwood, having managed the Norwich captain at Nottingham Forest.
'Yes, he would know him, but we all know Grant without knowing him, really, because that's what the Premier League is like these days and I knew him of course when he was scoring goals in League One and the Championship,' said his new boss. 'Last season wasn't a massive surprise for me.
'I think you are able to do that – we've seen that in Rickie Lambert at Southampton and I fully expect Rickie Lambert to score goals in the Premier League next season.
'So I've known of Grant for some time and Colin knows him. He is a player that I would love to see here.
'I think in all walks of football life and at whatever level you are working in, management is a tough job. The club, through good management on and off the field, have got itself into a good position in the Premier League. My responsibility is to sustain that. I have been given this challenge and it is one I am looking forward to.'