Chris Hughton reflects on a successful first year in the Norwich City dugout

Jonny Howson's wonder strike against West Brom not only sealed Premier League survival but hinted at

Jonny Howson's wonder strike against West Brom not only sealed Premier League survival but hinted at good times ahead for Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd. - 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.'

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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