Chris Hughton reflects on a successful first year in the Norwich City dugout
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton believes the early days of his Norwich City reign were crucial as he prepares to celebrate a year in charge at Carrow Road.
The Canaries' chief inherited Paul Lambert's squad and pre-season schedule last summer but managed to finish one place higher after a superb finale to a testing Premier League bow.
Hughton's top flight tenure began on a sour note with a heavy opening day defeat against Fulham but a club-record unbeaten Premier League run was a testament to his methods.
'When I got the job at Norwich City, I was keen to change the style of play,' he said. 'It was important that I explained my intentions and reassured the players that I wouldn't be making any dramatic changes or changing the fundamentals – work ethic and organisation. What I had to do was determine the right balance between keeping what already worked at the club and introducing my own methods, and then change things in a subtle way.
'I think for football managers the best time to engage and communicate in this way is the pre-season period. It's not just about getting results when you first arrive. What you have to demonstrate to the players is a philosophy of play and a way of working. You have to be adaptable and you need to be thinking all of the time.'
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Hughton insists the backing from the club's support and board were also pivotal factors in what was his first full season in charge in the Premier League after a 14-year coaching career prior to spells at Newcastle and Birmingham.
'I think it's important to treat people with respect,' he said. 'I've had superb backing from the board and what I always try to do is show the supporters how hard I am working for them. It's important they know how valuable they are to the club. For me, it has been an ideal journey because I generally believe I had a very good apprenticeship. The period of time I worked as a coach and worked with managers, particularly the last period with Martin Jol who I worked very closely with for three years, really helped me. I had been through so many aspects in the 14 years I had been coaching and working closely with managers, I was able to bridge that gap certainly more comfortably than if management had been my first job.'
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