Norwich City boss Chris Hughton looking forward to Chelsea challenge
Chris Hughton expects his Norwich City players to be inspired by a trip to Premier League top dogs Chelsea.
The Canaries head to Stamford Bridge after an emphatic home defeat to Liverpool, but Hughton believes he has a group desperate to prove themselves against the champions of Europe.
“The inspiration for the team should be walking out against quality international players. What a wonderful stage to go and apply your trade,” he said. “I would be incredibly disappointed if there was one player who was not looking forward to that challenge.
“Whether it is this week, next week or next month we have got to play them. They are playing extremely well, they have good options within the team and they have probably changed the style of play a little bit from last season.
“Perhaps if anything they are now a bit more adventurous. It will be a tough task, but it would be that whether we were on the back of a defeat or in the middle of a good run. It is a difficult place to go.
“You know that before you go there.”
Hughton insists confidence has not been shattered by shipping another five goals last weekend so soon after a desperate opening day defeat at Fulham.
“We have to remember we have played six games in the league and two cup games that have seen us go through to the next round. Within that we have had two poor performances,” he said. “In between that we have seen what I regard as good performances. Perhaps we have been guilty of not getting the points we deserved from those four games, but nevertheless there are enough positives to take from the season so far not to dwell on the negatives.
“It is not nice but it is part and parcel of the game. The last time it happened we got a very good reaction and we were able to sustain it. That is when you look for the character in the team.”
Hughton conceded City’s prospects at Stamford Bridge would be boosted by Sebastien Bassong’s return from a hamstring injury. The ex-Tottenham centre back will be given every chance to prove his fitness, along with Anthony Pilkington (back) who yesterday re-joined training.
“At the moment with both we are assessing them very closely,” said Hughton. “Pilkington trained today and we need to make sure that he is right. Bassong has made big strides over the past week and he is one we will assess for the weekend. He didn’t train properly today but was very close to it so it is one we have to make a decision. Do we miss him? He is a quality player, of course, you only have to look at the games he has been involved in.
“He has fared very, very well for us so it was a blow to be without him (for Liverpool). How he would have affected the game is impossible to say in hindsight, but certainly any opportunity to get him back will be a major plus for us.”