Chris Hughton - Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke was too hot to handle for his Norwich City side

Aston Villa's Christian Benteke struck a clinical brace in a 4-1 Premier League rout against Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Aston Villa's Christian Benteke struck a clinical brace in a 4-1 Premier League rout against Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Sunday, March 2, 2014
8:48 PM

Norwich manager Chris Hughton was disappointed his side could not handle the ‘power and pace’ of a Christian Benteke-inspired Aston Villa in a 4-1 Premier League defeat at Villa Park.

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City remained four points clear of the bottom three after the hosts’ first-half salvo inflicted another dent to their goal difference. Benteke struck twice in two minutes before Leandro Bacuna and Sebastien Bassong’s own goal secured a win that looked unlikely after Wes Hoolahan’s opener.

“For 25 minutes I thought we played very well. We started the game well, got a goal and could have got a second,” said Hughton. “One thing you have to do here - they can get a crowd behind them and you have to quieten that crowd and we certainly did that. But in a 15-minute period we conceded the one goal and they turned up the power and pace and we couldn’t handle it for that 15 minutes. If you can’t handle it you have to make sure you don’t concede and in a bad period for us we, of course, conceded the goals and at that stage there’s no coming back from that.

“You can’t allow them to play the type of balls in, particularly to somebody with the power Christian Benteke’s got, but as defenders we’ve got to deal with that better. It’s part and parcel of the game and he is no doubt on top form an exceptional player but you have to deal with those things.

“Even at 2-1, if you accepted Benteke’s power allowed him to get the two goals that he got, then we have to gather as a team and make sure that at 2-1 we stay in the game. But we didn’t and their pace took over from that moment and at 4-1 down there’s no coming back.”

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