No time to dwell on World Cup exit for Norwich City’s Swedish duo

Norwich City's on-loan striker Johan Elmander and Martin Olsson must overcome their World Cup disappointment. Picture...

Norwich City's on-loan striker Johan Elmander and Martin Olsson must overcome their World Cup disappointment. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Chris Hughton has no fears his Swedish international duo Johan Elmander and Martin Olsson will be ready for Premier League duty against Newcastle after the crushing blow of their World Cup exit.

Both on-loan striker Elmander and former Blackburn defender Olsson featured heavily in their country's 4-2 aggregate play-off defeat to a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal.

'They are coming back into a really good environment, a really good changing room and set of lads,' said Hughton. 'They will feel comfortable and it is back down to business for them. I think they should realise they gave it a really good go because Portugal, on their day, are one of their best and with Ronaldo, on his day, they have someone who is arguably the very best. They should be proud they ran them so close but of course it is a big disappointment to get that close and not make it.

'They are footballers, they will be used to picking themselves up after a defeat and trying to find that enthusiasm again. It is part and parcel of the game.'

By way of contrast, City's league opponents this weekend experienced the pleasurable side of the World Cup play-off lottery with a Newcastle quartet involved in France's comeback aggregate win over Ukraine. Hughton, however, insists that will not be a major factor.

'Now it is back to the day job and the club that pay your wages,' he said. 'The internationals are over for a good period. I imagine there is quite a nice feel from that around those particular players but whether they did well or not it is about divorcing yourself from that now.

'For me the most important thing was my players all came back with no problems. Some played more minutes than others, so it is natural some might be more tired, but all injury-free. I have to see the minutes they played and assess it from there but generally even the ones who played two games, like Johan, would want to be involved.'

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Hughton also drew plenty of positives from outings for Scotland's Steven Whittaker and the Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan after only limited club involvement for the Canaries in recent weeks.

'Certainly in Wes and Steven it was good to see,' he said. 'It can work against you as a club manager when perhaps the lads who you don't want to play end up being used in both games. Wes got close to 75 minutes in the first Ireland game and went on for 15 in the second game. That will have been important to him because he didn't have many starts with the previous manager. Steven was involved in both of Scotland's game and neither have had the minutes here they would like. If they go away and do well for their countries of course that sends a little message to the manager, but that is no different to them doing well here in training. Everybody wants to play and it is my decision how I set my team out. It is not always going to suit everybody but what has been shown so many times in the past is there might be a period when a player is not featuring and then it changes, whether that might be due to a change of strategy or injury.'