Norwich City boss Chris Hughton admits Canaries face a battle to preserve Premier League status

Norwich keeper Mark Bunn and Russell Martin sum up the mood of dejection after slipping to a late 2-

Norwich keeper Mark Bunn and Russell Martin sum up the mood of dejection after slipping to a late 2-1 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton admitted he faces a major task to lift his dejected Norwich City players after slipping to a damaging 2-1 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa at Carrow Road.

Gabby Agbonlahor's 89th minute winner edged Paul Lambert's side onto 40 points and pushed the Canaries closer to the relegation zone on a desperate afternoon compounded by Wigan's 3-2 win at West Brom.

Grant Holt's penalty levelled matters but City had no answer to the former England's striker's pace and predatory instincts. Norwich are now 15th, three points clear of the Latics, who have a league game in hand. City wrap up their home programme against West Brom next weekend before a daunting trip to deposed champions Manchester City and Hughton is under no illusions at the scale of the task.

'We're in a battle. We know that,' he said. 'This was a game we wanted to get something from and we wanted to win. Goals change the course of games and we have two to go. We need to make sure we dust these players down and show a lot of the good things we did here. Anyone watching it would have seen us do some good things but we will need to show that against West Brom. We have got ourselves in this position. We had an opportunity to make sure we got something and I am massively disappointed and frustrated.

'I don't think its a game we deserved to lose after the way we dominated that first half period. We knew Villa were good on the counter-attack and we knew the quality of Andreas Weimann, Christian Benteke and (Gabby) Agbonlahor. For large periods of the game we kept them quiet, particularly Benteke, but we conceded two poor goals. To do that means we have to score three goals. We spoke about trying to be a bigger threat in the final third and we managed to do that. At 1-1 you have to make sure you don't lose the game.'

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