Patrick Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Friday, March 21, 2014
Chris Hughton has backed Johan Elmander to win over his Norwich City critics after ending his Premier League goal drought.
The Swedish international scored his first goal in 23 league appearances since joining the club on loan from Galatasaray in last weekend’s 4-2 top flight defeat at Southampton. Elmander’s late second-half appearance at St Mary’s sparked an angry reaction from sections of City’s travelling support but Hughton insists no-one can question the 32-year-old’s commitment to the cause.
“I was pleased for Johan,” he said. “There is never any doubt about his work-rate and his endeavour to want to do well for this club and to try and score goals for this football team. It has been unfortunate for him, whether that is down to poor selection in terms of the decisions you make as an individual during games or also the lack of service. Perhaps it is a combination of both.
“I think everybody was delighted that he got off the mark and he deserved it for the work he has put in. One thing he has found difficult is in front of goal but no-one can fault his efforts.”
Elmander’s late strike was the first time a City substitute had scored this season, and Hughton knows Norwich’s goal ratio must improve ahead of another critical game against relegation rivals Sunderland at Carrow Road.
“It is not for a lack of hard work,” he said. “We went through a period when we created plenty of chances to score more goals, so we have got into those right areas but we have not been clinical enough.
“They are all big games now. We are aware of the size of each game between now and the end of the season. It will take a huge effort from myself, the players and the club. They have showed character and there is plenty in that changing room, but it has to be aligned to having the quality to do the job, maybe get a touch of fortune that is needed, and you look back at some performances where we deserved better results.”