Norwich City’s cental midfield trio could hold the key to their Premier League fortunes

Jonny Howson in action against Chelsea. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Jonny Howson in action against Chelsea. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton believes Norwich City's new look central midfield trio could hold the key to their Premier League fortunes.

Jonny Howson, Leroy Fer and Alex Tettey again impressed in stages against Chelsea at the weekend, although the Norwegian international's miscued clearance allowed Eden Hazard to set the Blues on the way to a 3-1 win.

City's midfield, however, held the upper hand for prolonged spells at Carrow Road following on from their pivotal role in the club's Stoke away win. 'A lot of thought went into that,' said Hughton. 'There are always things that go through your mind in the week leading up to the game when it comes to formations. It was something that grew out of wanting us to get more possession. We knew up at Stoke they were looking to be more expansive and we just felt if we could press a little bit higher we might get some joy. Against Chelsea I felt we kept the ball better and had that possession after they scored and we created opportunities for ourselves and we started to use the spaces better.'

Hughton admits deploying Tettey in a screening role behind Howson and Fer has been a key factor in the club's recent upturn. The Norwegian publicly admitted earlier this season he had struggled towards the end of his first campaign at Carrow Road but Hughton has been delighted with his impact since a recall to the starting line up.

'Alex is absolutely key in that role because it does give Leroy and Jon a bit more of a licence, Jon perhaps more so in that respect, because as we all know he has a great energy to drive forward,' he said. 'Knowing Alex is there and doing what he does best frees Jonny to play a little bit off the shape. It worked (at Stoke) and its always a little bit easier to talk about it when it works.

'Alex had played a lot of games last season and not just that but a lot of games consecutively which perhaps he had not done before in his career. He picked up a little injury problem that knocked him back and he found it a little bit difficult to get back into a rhythm.

'Over the summer we went out and brought in other options and for me it is trying to get the right mix but he is a very good athlete. He trains well every day and he is always good when he has a little bit of momentum in his game.'

Most Read

• Fer was drafted into Holland's squad on Monday for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Hungary and Turkey. The 23-year-old replaced Swansea's Jonathan de Guzman (groin) and PSV Eindhoven's Stijn Schaars (knee) who have been forced to withdraw from Louis van Gaal's original party, which does not include City team mate Ricky van Wolfswinkel.