Chris Hughton pays tribute to Norwich City’s support
Chris Hughton thanked Norwich City's fans for cranking up the volume to drive his team on to a vital Premier League 2-1 win over Reading at Carrow Road.
The Canaries responded to the raucous atmosphere whipped up by the supporters to move within touching distance of sealing a third consecutive season of top flight football.
Ryan Bennett and his namesake Elliott struck twice in two second half minutes, before City endured a tense final quarter after Garath McCleary pulled a goal back.
Norwich's win over the Royals edged them into 13th place on 38 points – seven points clear of third-from bottom Wigan who lost 2-0 at West Ham, although the Latics still have one game in hand – and the Norwich boss was quick to pay tribute to the level of backing from the terraces.
'It was probably as vocal as they have been for a long time. The players have to give them something and I don't think they could fault the efforts of the team,' he said. 'The crowd get as anxious as anybody. They want to see their team win, they see the other teams around you winning and they know a win is needed and that points are needed. So there is always going to be that bit of anxiety but I have to say, for the season, the supporters have been excellent.
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'I think we'll try to enjoy this win over the weekend, but once Monday comes you'll have to start to think about the next game. I think it was a victory we deserved. On the balance of the game, I thought we were the better team, we had the better chances, we got the ball into their box and we had a lot more crosses and set plays than they had and it would have been incredibly disappointing if we hadn't won.'
Hughton admitted a Reading win at Carrow Road, allied to weekend victories for this Saturday's opponents Stoke and Sunderland, would have constituted a nightmare scenario.
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'There is no doubt if we had lost it would have made it more difficult for us and perhaps a little bit more anxiety sets in,' he said. 'We needed it. There are teams around us who are all capable of winning games. Wigan have a had a bad day, but they are a good team. How it will end up I don't know, but at this moment this feels like a big win for us.'
City set the tone in a vibrant opening 20 minute spell designed to avoid their sluggish start against Swansea recently.
'We knew we had to force the issue,' said Hughton. 'We were at home, we were against a team who were below us in the league. Then we had a little dip, because when you don't score in that period the opposition get a little bit more confidence and that's exactly what happened. But after that we came on strong again and that's the area that I was most pleased with, that after that dip in the first half, we came out in the second half and at 2-0 looked like we could perhaps have got a third and a fourth.
'The crowd were very much getting behind the team and we just made life a little bit too difficult for ourselves in that last period when we didn't need to.'