Norwich City boss Chris Hughton admits his side were second best in a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Everton
18:22 11 January 2014
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Norwich City boss Chris Hughton felt his side were taught a brutal lesson by Everton in a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Goodison Park.
The Canaries were sunk by Gareth Barry’s long range first half strike and Kevin Mirallas’ sublime free kick just before the hour mark in a routine win for Roberto Martinez’s side. Norwich did finish the game on the front foot with Robert Snodgrass clipping a post but Hughton acknowledged the visitors had been second best for the majority of the game.
“We knew we were up against a team who would have more possession because they have generally played that way against most other sides this season,” he said. “I felt we finished strongly and we showed character after going behind. The first goal is a wonderful strike but I felt if we could turn it in our favour in the second half we might get something from the game, but the second is a fantastic strike. That is the difference. They didn’t create as many clear cut chances as they would like but in the pivotal moments they showed their quality.
“We didn’t shy away from trying to get back into the game. We had opportunities and to be fair it would have been against the run of play and probably not a fair result if we had got something but I was frustrated not to see that in the first half.”
Martinez felt his side’s finishing power proved the key difference after his side marched into the Premier League’s top four.
“I thought it was going to be a very difficult game and it proved to be,” he said. “The amount of opportunities we had, probably that clinical touch in front of goal was the difference. Norwich had a proper go in the second half, but we defended well and kept a really important clean sheet. In these sort of games, you can lose your concentration in dead-ball situations, but I thought we controlled the game well and got three well-deserved, and very important points.”
Hughton was again forced to answer questions on midfielder Wes Hoolahan, with the Irishman an unused substitute in a week dominated by transfer talk surrounding his future.
“I didn’t play Wes because of a combination of a few things,” said Hughton. “I opted to play two up front and within that debate there is always those who will feel do you play two out-and-out strikers or one in behind. I felt that was quite brave of us to play two to try and stop them playing out from the back. Wes played in the last two league games but was injured for the FA Cup. He was very much in my thoughts. There is no situation other than that. He is a Norwich City player who was in my thoughts to play today and a strong part of the squad.”