Norwich City players must shine in the spotlight of St James’ Park - Chris Hughton
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
As a man ill at ease in the spotlight, Chris Hughton is thankful his second Newcastle return will bring none of the circus of his first last season with Norwich City.
Hughton's maiden homecoming, allied to the sour nature of his Magpies' exit, dominated the build-up and most of the proceedings during and afterwards in the north-east. Demba Ba's match-winner was almost incidental but second time around Hughton expects to resume his position in the shadows at St James' Park.
'For me it was probably a bigger deal last season to everybody else,' he said. 'I was quite looking forward to going back but you can only really enjoy it if you get the result. I'm not the most emotional of people, I must admit, so I don't get too caught up in all that side of it but as a returning manager it is always difficult. I was appreciative of the response I got but ultimately you are there to get a result for your team. If you don't then it is not a particularly good day.
'I'm certainly not bitter about what happened there. I have some very fond memories and a lot of friends still there. I had my time there and thoroughly enjoyed it but I am now Norwich manager and enjoying it.'
Hughton insists the pressure he faces at Carrow Road to try and nudge Norwich up the Premier League table is comparable with the weight of expectation on Tyneside.
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'For me, it's not a bigger job than Norwich,' he said. 'What is different perhaps is the expectation level in terms of what they have had in the past up there and a fanatical 50,000 support behind them. They genuinely feel they should be a Champions League or a top-six league side. It really is no more difficult than any other manager's job. When you win games it is exciting and you get the support from everybody. When you lose, there are difficult periods but that is true at every club -–irrespective of whether you are top or bottom of the league.
'It is a wonderful stadium to go to. I wouldn't use the word daunting because it is an enjoyable place to go and I want my players to enjoy it, but there is no doubt they can create a wonderful atmosphere and drive their team on if they play well.'
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Hughton knows City must overcome a Newcastle side buoyed by league wins over Chelsea and Tottenham.
'I was at the Tottenham game and that was certainly one of two halves because Newcastle were particularly good in the first half but in the second Tim Krul had a very good day,' he said. 'If he is as prominent again then we are having a good day because we will be giving him plenty to think about. There is no doubt he is a quality keeper and (Loic) Remy is scoring plenty of goals but it is not just worrying about one player or two. They are in good form, they have a bit more consistency in the starting XI and that is a challenge we have to face.'