Norwich City boss Chris Hughton closes the book on Wes Hoolahan goal fallout
Wes Hoolahan has Chris Hughton’s firm backing following the recent fallout from the Irishman’s muted goal celebration in the Premier League defeat at Aston Villa.
Hughton insisted the matter is now closed after accepting Hoolahan’s explanation for his understated reaction to his early close range finish against the club who tried to sign him in January - an incident which had sparked widespread debate among supporters in recent days.
The City chief revealed he had spoken to the midfielder on Thursday yesterday about the issue on his return from international duty with the Republic of Ireland. “Having spoken to him I am very clear and very confident that there was nothing in that or in the way he reacted after scoring,” said Hughton. “This is a lad who has had a tough time this season in terms of the number of games he would like to have played.
“He is an experienced player who is used to playing but he has had to get used to that and maybe when you have not played for a period when you do score you forget how to celebrate.
“I am genuine in what I say that if he has upset anybody or taken that reaction the wrong way Wes would be the first one to apologise or hold his hand up.
“What he did do, and I feel it is important to recognise the fact, is I saw him go over to our support at the end to show his appreciation. I am very clear about what he has told me and I feel it is genuine.”
Hughton expects his squad to respond strongly from their first-half collapse against Paul Lambert’s side, when Villa stormed back after Hoolahan’s opener to score four times in 16 minutes.
“I expect a good reaction, because we have to,” he said. “The disappointment was that on the back of a very good performance, and result against Tottenham, we went to Villa in good spirits and in confident mood and that is how we also started the game.
“It all changed in a 15 minute period and we have to expect and demand a reaction (against Stoke). The confidence had been quite high so, of course, that takes a knock but it is part and parcel of the game and generally when we have had to get a response from the players it has been good.”