Norwich City’s calm before the storm helped sink Reading for a vital Premier League win

Chris Hughton insisted Norwich's second half surge to sink Reading was not inspired by harsh words a

Chris Hughton insisted Norwich's second half surge to sink Reading was not inspired by harsh words at the interval. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton revealed Norwich's defining second half salvo at Carrow Road was not sparked by a half-time inquest.

City tore into the Royals immediately after the restart, and were rewarded with two goals in two minutes from Ryan Bennett and namesake Elliott, before Garath McCleary reduced the arrears to set up a tense finish. Nigel Adkins' men had finished the opening period firmly in control, following a similarly vibrant opening from the Canaries – and that was the tone of Hughton's interval address.

'I was calm at half-time because it can either be a rollicking or just pointing our what the facts are,' he said. 'The facts were that we needed to get back to where we were in the early part of the game. We needed to make sure we did it in a controlled manner, a sensible manner and if you continue to do that, the openings will come. Fortunately for us, they did. We just spoke at half-time about starting the second half as we started the first and we just asked the players to raise it again.

'We were at home and we had to force it. We needed the half-time break because I thought we started the game very well with a very good tempo. It is difficult to sustain that for really long periods and as the first half progressed, they got more and more into the game.'

Hughton conceded City's failure to build on that frenetic early second half spell was a minor source of irritation.

'We had ample opportunities to go further in front. We allowed a team back into a game we should never have done,' he said. 'They played a little more expansively, and it's difficult when you decide to go with two players up front. You know on most occasions you are going to be up against teams who have the extra player in the middle of the park and they started to use it quite well, even though I didn't think they were much of a goal threat.

'Nigel is trying a little bit of a different philosophy of play, but it is goals that change games and we got them at the right time. When you look at it we had two really good periods. The first 20 minutes at the start and then we came out again really well after half-time.'

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Hughton continued to preach afterwards the club's Premier League status is still not fully secure after taking a major step in the right direction at Reading's expense.

'I think it will take more points. I've always thought around that 40 mark and there are teams around us that are still very capable of winning games so I do think it will take more,' he said. 'This has been a big help towards where we want to go. I think it's a big win for us at this stage of the season, particularly because we've found it difficult to win football matches of late. It's a home game for us. We have four more games after this, two at home, and I think probably with no disrespect to Reading, this is a game where we're at home and probably for the first time for a while we're perhaps favourites to win. If that's the case, you've got to make sure you do that – and we did.

'I suppose if you look at the team furthest away from us, apart from Reading and QPR, that is Wigan. They have a game in hand so it's about possibly what they can do.

'Probably the simple answer is I don't know, but I think it will certainly be around that 40 mark.'

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