Tottenham return holds special memories for Norwich City boss Chris Hughton
- Credit: PA
Chris Hughton was part of a special period in Tottenham's history and the Norwich City boss senses his Canaries must face a club on the up again today at White Hart Lane.
Gareth Bale's world-record transfer to Real Madrid has been offset by a lavish £100m outlay designed to propel the north London club into the Champions League next season. Hughton won the Uefa Cup as a player in 1984 and the City boss is not one of those subscribing to the theory Bale's exit weakens their on-going attempts to scale similar heights in Europe.
'Gareth was and is a special player,' he said. 'Of course they have lost an outstanding player and we know what he was capable of because we experienced it last season. They have great options and the depth in their squad is now a lot better. The question is how long it takes to get to the levels they want? Time will tell. It's always nice to go back and it is a special club, but the feeling is always better if you can go and perform well enough. We were unlucky perhaps not to get a win their last season. We are up against a team and a club who have vastly strengthened over the summer and they have great quality players in all positions. That makes it tougher, but you have to relish the challenge.'
Hughton accepts few outside Norfolk will give the Canaries a chance of upsetting the odds but the City boss insists the international hiatus has not dulled the sense of momentum from an opening Premier League win of the campaign against Southampton.
'Of course we are underdogs. When you go to a club like Tottenham who have ambitions to be a Champions League side and we are away from home that is the case but that is a challenge we have to enjoy,' he said. 'I am quite sure that no-one in my squad will have any fear going there. We are on the back of a good win and confidence is high. It is always a nice feeling when you go into the break on the back of a win - otherwise it feels a long drag before the next one. We have had ten away on international duty and that changes the preparations, but we are looking forward to it.'
Hughton can also welcome fit-again Gary Hooper back into his squad for the first time since being ruled out on the eve of the new season as the City boss strives to cultivate his best attacking formula.
'What you want to do is have options,' he said. 'I look at Swansea last season and they were very good going forward but they always played one striker. What they had was midfield players who could score goals and a player who could operate just off the front who could also chip in with goals.
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'If you look at what we have tried to do over the summer with bringing in the likes of Nathan Redmond as well as the strikers that was designed to give us an offensive threat.'