Norwich City boss Chris Hughton wants no let up over the Premier League run-in
13:59 24 February 2014
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Chris Hughton urged his Norwich City players not to let their standards drop as they look to secure the club’s Premier League status.
Robert Snodgrass’ 47th minute winner sunk Tottenham and edged the Canaries four points clear of the bottom three on an uplifting occasion at Carrow Road. Hughton had maintained his side’s performances deserved much more in recent times but the City boss admitted there must be no let up in the tightest relegation battle for many a season.
“It was a big win, particularly against this opposition. They are a quality team with talented players,” he said. “I think anytime you beat a top team it is a big one. It feels like an important win. My biggest concern was we had produced a really good level of performance in the last few games and I felt we had not got the results we probably deserved so you always have a fear about sustaining that level. We have been very good for the last three at Cardiff and West Ham away and Manchester City here. You must deal with those ups and downs, but is a wonderful standard to see. We needed to alleviate a bit of this pressure on us by getting goals. We did that and got the result with it. I am pleased for this group of lads. They work hard, they are committed and they share the frustration of the last few games.”
Hughton felt City’s defensive resolution and attacking threat against Spurs marked a high point in a season of frustrating inconsistency.
“I would say this season it was our best performance,” he said. “I thought we were good away at Stoke but we have had a few decent ones. We gave Chelsea a proper game here and Manchester United as well was, arguably for 45 minutes, the best we have played. This would be up there and of course we all accept that we are getting into that part of the season, that vital part, when every result seems to be a big one, so that adds to it perhaps.”
John Ruddy thwarted Tottenham in the immediate aftermath of Snodgrass’ cool finish but Hughton was also delighted for Ricky van Wolfswinkel after the Dutchman was preferred to Gary Hooper in one change to his starting line up.
“It has been difficult for Ricky,” he said. “That performance was how he started the season when he gave us good legs and worked the channels and worked defences in behind. I think we just felt at times with Tottenham playing a high line that maybe his running ability could get beyond them. I am really pleased for him because it has been a tough time for him.
“Every striker wants to score goals, but he had been out for three months in his first season at a new club in a new division.
“John made some very good saves but the more difficult ones were those decisions when he had to come off his line. The Tottenham keeper is probably the best in the business at doing that but I thought John was excellent.”
Norwich’s players and fans showed what it meant on the final whistle when a palpable wave of relief swept around Carrow Road. Television images also picked out an emotional David McNally, but Hughton confirmed afterwards the chief executive had suffered a family bereavement on the eve of the victory.
“I have been told and I can tell you he had a bereavement over the weekend, and that had a fair bit to do with it,” said Hughton.