May 21 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 22, 2012
Manager Chris Hughton was delighted with the way two new partnerships played a key part in his Norwich City side’s first Premier League win of the season.
Grant Holt’s third goal in successive games secured a notable victory over Arsenal in front of a vibrant full house at Carrow Road.
It was the Gunners’ first defeat at Norwich for 28 years, and the first time City have beaten them, home or away, for 20 years – since the famous 4-2 success at Highbury on the opening day of the first Premier League season in 1992.
Hughton said: “The most satisfying thing is that it’s three points. It has been a long time coming. There have been performances this season that have warranted it. But it’s unforgiving, this division, and unless you are able to produce it – and that means scoring more goals than the opposition – then it doesn’t come.
“But I’m really pleased and delighted for all the team because I think it was one we deserved. I don’t think there was any fluke about it.”
Hughton played summer signings Michael Turner and Sebastien Bassong together in the centre of defence for the first time, while another new recruit, Alex Tettey, was paired in central midfield with Bradley Johnson after Jonny Howson was left out.
Johnson excelled against the club that rejected him as a teenager, and Hughton said: “I think if you are a player playing against your old club then you would have enjoyed that. I can imagine he’s still got some good friends there. I enjoyed watching his performance today.
“I thought he was part of an excellent team but certainly an excellent two in central midfield. They had to be that good today because Arsenal have the potential to cause all sorts of problems.”
Norway international Tettey, given only his second Premier League start, was outstanding in both halves of the field and had a hand in the winning goal.
“I thought he was excellent,” said Hughton. “To be fair to him, when we took him he had missed a couple of games with Rennes.
“He then went straight into international duty, so it’s taken a little while for him to get used to us and us to get used to him and see exactly his role in the team.”
“We had a really good two weeks’ training. We worked very much on the defensive shape of the team. What you have to do against Arsenal is you have to restrict their quality players from picking up the ball in the areas that are going to hurt you.”
Hughton dismissed the idea that Arsenal had underestimated City, but did feel his side could have beaten them more comfortably.
He said: “Towards the end of the game, where a real, quality Arsenal team have to open up a little bit and have to go to get back into the game, we were able to catch them on the counter-attack on numerous occasions and if there is one disappointment, we could have made life a touch easier for ourselves. But I thought we restricted them to minimal chances, which you have to do.
“They are far too professional an outfit and they have far too much quality to treat anybody lightly.”