Norwich City boss Chris Hughton salutes the Canaries’ fighting spirit after Tottenham comeback
Chris Hughton insists Norwich City can go all the way in the Capital One Cup after powering into the quarter-finals last night following a breathless last stand to overcome Tottenham.
Gareth Bale's superb second half strike was cancelled out by Jan Vertonghen's late own goal and Simeon Jackson's 86th minute close range finish before Mark Bunn brilliantly saved Clint Dempsey's penalty in the final seconds of normal time.
City's prize is a spicy home tie against Paul Lambert's Aston Villa and speaking before the delayed draw for the last eight, Hughton admitted City can now start to dream of a Wembley tilt.
'Once you start hitting the quarter-finals you are not that far from the final itself so it is a good feeling and I am pleased for the club,' he said. 'It has been a long time. I think it is a competition clubs like ourselves can do well in. Generally the bigger clubs will win the major competitions. Some may chose to rotate their squads but if you look at clubs like Bradford getting through it is fantastic. You never like to get too carried away because you don't know who you will get. If you are drawn against Chelsea away it is a much tougher proposition compared to a team outside the Premier League.'
Hughton hailed Bunn's display which was capped by a spot-kick save after Marc Tierney was adjudged to have felled Kyle Walker.
'I've seen it and I thought the lad certainly made a meal of it. Marc said he didn't touch him,' said Hughton. 'Whether there was contact or not I don't know. The angle I have seen you can't tell. Marc hasn't played the ball because there isn't any movement but Marc says he hasn't touched him. It was nice of our keeper to save it. How controversial was it? I felt the lad did make the most of it but another angle might say something different. Nevertheless it was a terrific save for Mark and that summer up the evening for him.
'I thought he was excellent. Even when he came out right at the end and he is very brave punching through bodies. It was a real good game for him but he is a really good goalkeeper. I can't imagine there was any fault on his part for the goal because it was a wonderful strike from Gareth Bale. He will always be a threat, now, next week and the week after because of the quality he has. I thought he showed good composure and in the times when he had to show good hands he did that.'
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Hughton felt City deserved a slice of Lady Luck after that particular commodity had been in short supply during the opening weeks of the season.
'Sometimes you need that little bit of fortune but you have to be in the right place. The first goal takes a little bit of a deflection and we have not had one of them all season or a penalty go in our favour,' he said.
'Sometimes you have to force the issue. It was a fairly cagey game but they started the second half better than us. Once they scored we had to go for it. I knew what we had in the team and we had some players that hadn't played so you just wanted to bring some energy into the side. In the first half I thought we coped okay. Perhaps we weren't quite as big a threat. They were better than us in that second half period. We found it a little bit harder and I was going to make the substitutions just before I did. Irrespective of the team you put out you want to win every game and that is now three games unbeaten.'
After Hughton had addressed the media the Canaries were handed a mouthwatering home draw against Aston Villa, with Lambert set to make his first return to Carrow Road since his exit during the summer in the week beginning December 10. That tie should certainly attract a bigger crowd than last night, with only 16,465 turning up for a game where an adult ticket cost �30.
City avoided the big guns, with Chelsea travelling to Leeds and Arsenal away to minnows Bradford City. Swansea are home to Middlesbrough in the other tie.
Chelsea boss Di Matteo told Sky Sports: 'Playing away is always difficult and Leeds and Chelsea have a bit of history there as well.
'It will be an interesting game.'