Chris Hughton - You will never take the physical intent out of the British game

Norwich's Kei Kamara conceded a penalty against Arsenal after being adjudged to have manhandled Gunn

Norwich's Kei Kamara conceded a penalty against Arsenal after being adjudged to have manhandled Gunners' forward Oliver Giroud. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton believes the physical aspect will always remain a key part of the English game.

West Ham's Andy Carroll was widely criticised for his muscular display in the Hammers' midweek Premier League draw against Manchester United, which included a fearsome aerial challenge that floored David De Gea.

Hughton insists it is up to the officials to police the rough and tumble, but the Norwich City boss has no wish to see the game sanitised at the top level.

'Certainly the physical aspects of the game you do not want to see taken out. It is a contact sport,' he said. 'It is about energy and enthusiasm, sometimes those levels can go over the top, but that is a referee's responsibility. There are always going to be isolated incidents and it is for the referee to come down on any action he feels is over-exuberant. That is what he is there for. Certainly if I looked in the past at the type of challenges that would have been allowed before and the type referees would have dealt with, then over the years they have been stamped down and you certainly couldn't get away with what happened in the past.'

Hughton was vocal in his criticism of the officials following last week's defeat at Arsenal and the City boss admitted part of that frustration stems from different interpretations of what constitutes a foul inside and outside the penalty area.


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'I think we have seen in numerous occasions a foul outside the box that is perhaps given where a referee is more dubious about giving it inside the box,' he said. 'A referee's role is different now. It is tougher because there are circumstances on the pitch where you feel they would like to be a little more lenient. With the rules now and the authorities looking for them to stamp down it has become a little more difficult. It is a contact sport and there is an art to defending.

'If you looked at Italy you see it week in, week out and that is deemed as good defending in some quarters. Of course there have to be lines you do not cross and what we have now is instead of one camera, a dozen cameras at a game. I guarantee you if we had that amount at a game 20-odd years ago we would still have been speaking about the same things.'

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