Norwich and Swansea proving Premiere League guard is not unbreakable – Chris Hughton
Chris Hughton insists clubs like Norwich City and Swansea are proving it is possible to challenge the established order in the Premier League.
Both the Canaries and the Swans again look on course to secure their top flight status in fine style after impressive debut seasons following promotion from the Football League in 2011.
Hughton firmly believes you can survive and prosper against rivals with significantly greater financial resources.
'It's probably because the game is not just about money and the best players,' he said. 'Ultimately the best teams finish at the top and the ones that are not the best finish at the bottom so that can never change. But you could look at a team that was maybe towards the bottom of the league but with regards their preparation, sport science, nutrition and the way they prepare, it is as good as some of the teams and bigger clubs at the top.
'There is a massive effort going on at every club and winning league points becomes bigger and bigger.'
Hughton senses the gap from the Football League narrows with each passing season.
'We all know the bigger clubs have got more money and can bring in the bigger players, but also the clubs that are coming up I think are better prepared now,' he said.
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'I think that that was certainly shown by Swansea. They came up with no fear last season and I thought they were excellent. I also think there is less fear shown by the teams who come up.
'It is a wonderful league, there is no doubt about that, and for me probably it is the most exciting league. Whether it has the technical abilities of the Spanish league, possibly not, but it is the most exciting. I think there is certainly a great entertainment value – whether it is a top versus bottom or two mid-table teams, there is always great entertainment value. Teams are playing with open philosophies, which makes for entertaining games.'
Hughton's world view is backed up by City's 10-match unbeaten Premier League run which they put on the line at West Brom on Saturday afternoon.
'I will say it is very difficult for a team to go 10 games unbeaten in this division, very difficult, so I'm delighted with it,' he said. 'You don't really want to be surprised by anything, because if I'm surprised then I don't want it to be a poor reflection on what we have in the team and the efforts the players that have been putting in. I wouldn't want to say I'm surprised, but I am delighted with it.'