Set-piece success key for Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Chris Hughton believes Norwich City's deadly threat from set-pieces should be a source of pride.
Reading counterpart Nigel Adkins was the latest to highlight City's reliance on their prowess at dead ball situations in the priceless 2-1 Premier League win at Carrow Road. Ryan Bennett lashed home the opener after the Royals failed to clear Robert Snodgrass' initial corner, before Reading keeper Alex McCarthy failed to deal with another aerial assault that led to Elliott Bennett's winner.
Only Manchester United have scored more goals from corners than Hughton's side in the Premier League this season, with City leaders in goals scored from free-kicks.
Adkins claimed in his post-match interview more than 90pc of Norwich's goals this season have originated from crosses, and Hughton insists the ability is all in the quality from the likes of Snodgrass.
'Robert is a very good player, but he has great delivery,' he said. 'I thought his delivery from corners was excellent (against Reading) and we had probably had three or four excellent chances just from set pieces. We got bodies into the box so there was certainly no lack of endeavour.
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'I think you rely on the quality on the day and being aggressive on the day. I've known teams in the past who don't do so much work on the training pitch on set plays, but what they had in the team was somebody who could deliver a ball with such great quality and had two or three aggressive headers in the box. So it is about the work on the pitch but it is also about those margins. It's been important for us at a time when we haven't got the amount of goals from open play we would have liked.'
Centre-back Bennett's first goal for the club also maintained a productive output from City's defensive ranks following Michael Turner's recent finishes against both Swansea and Arsenal.
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'They are vital and I think that's nice for the team and for the squad when you're able to share the goals around a little bit,' said Hughton. 'I must admit we've found it a little bit difficult in the forward areas to score the goals. I think it's been tougher for Holty (Grant Holt) because for large chunks of the season I've played a little bit of a different formation, so we've looked really at his hold-up play and getting into the box. But you don't mind where the goals are coming from as long as they give you enough points.'
• Premier League goals from corners: Manchester United 9, Norwich City 9, Chelsea 6, Manchester City 5.
• Goals from free-kicks: Norwich City 9, Tottenham 8, Chelsea 6, Manchester United 6.