April 18 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Norwich City may have Manchester United in town this weekend – but they will only have eyes for Fulham when the Cottagers come to Carrow Road on Boxing Day (3pm).
Manager Chris Hughton knows how things feel for visiting boss Rene Meulensteen, who is still in the formative weeks of his Craven Cottage reign and brings a side to Norfolk sitting 19th in the Premier League table.
It was only last month when City were suffering a similar painful standing – and while they now have a few points between themselves and the bottom three heading into their festive fixtures, Hughton will be expecting his side to push on rather than let up.
“We have to look after that first game because it’s the most important one at this particular moment,” said Hughton. “It’s not rocket science – Manchester United hold the biggest threat out of the two games because of what they are and the players they have.
“But the moment you go into games thinking one is easier than another, then it is something that will certainly smack you in the face. We’ll deal with the first one first – and it’s a team in the group of teams we’re in, so it’s an important one for us.”
Full-time against United will mark the halfway point of the Premier League season – and assessing a team’s progress will be all too tempting. But Hughton is more concerned about his side managing more than their three-game failure over last season’s Christmas period – albeit against Manchester City, Chelsea and a trip to West Ham.
“It’s that mid-point of the season and people look at what position teams are in once they go into the start of January and the post-Christmas period,” added Hughton.
“In reality it’s about what you do over the season – and somebody who doesn’t have a particularly good start but a strong finish can finish in a decent position, especially with how tight it all is.
“We think about this period because it’s a lot of games in a short period. We didn’t have a good Christmas last year, where we lost all our games – albeit all close games and all by one goal. So certainly it would be good to feel better than we did this time last year.”