Norwich City must cut out the self-inflicted blows warns Chris Hughton
07:15 03 February 2014
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Chris Hughton warned his Norwich City players to wise up after gifting Cardiff City a Premier League lifeline.
"The feeling is one of anger and we are hurting. How we didn’t win that game I really don’t know."
The Canaries had frustrated a restless home crowd for the first 50 minutes and were good value for Robert Snodgrass’ opening salvo before imploding inside 80 seconds on the restart as first Craig Bellamy and debutant Kenwyne Jones pounced. Cardiff keeper David Marshall then moved centre stage to frustrate his previous employers, much like the corresponding league fixture at Carrow Road, to thwartNorwich’s frantic efforts to repair two self-inflicted wounds.
“We know Cardiff have not had the best of times but you can’t afford to make the mistakes we made because it gave them the lift,” said Hughton. “When you give away the two goals we did it changed the whole atmosphere in the stadium. It is always frustrating when you concede any goal but the manner was so tough to take. We know this can be an intimidating place but the crowd were fairly quiet and that was down to the effect we had on the game.
“We conceded two poor goals in a match where I felt in the first half we were comfortable enough being the away side. The players are whole-hearted and want to do well and they will try things and unfortunately for us we made errors in the wrong area of the pitch and it cost us. We made mistakes for the goals that I didn’t see that in the first period. The statistics will show our dominance in certain areas of the pitch but we conceded poor goals at a poor time because it gave them the lift they needed right after half-time.”
Norwich’s troubles in the final third merely compounded their defensive abdication.
“The feeling is one of anger and we are hurting. How we didn’t win that game I really don’t know,” said Hughton. “You have to score goals and we couldn’t manage it. If that final pass had been a little better we might have been able to capitalise on that with another goal (in the first half).
“What we did do after such a knock was respond very well after that. Their goalkeeper, as he did at Carrow Road, made some superb saves and if you thought he was good here he was outstanding earlier in the season. We hit the woodwork and we had a couple disallowed. Once we gathered ourselves again I genuinely felt we would get the equaliser and hopefully the winner.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacted to Norwich’s growing first half control by introducing Manchester United loanee Wilfried Zaha to devastating effect. The highly-rated midfielder was heavily involved in both home goals. Hughton elected to make a triple substitution for the final 15 minutes but the Canaries’ boss dismissed suggestions he should have been more proactive.
“You have to try and get yourself back in the game and even when we made the substitutions we were very much pushing forward and getting balls into the box,” he said. “If you make the substitutions too early and you can disrupt that flow. We were not playing badly. Cardiff changed it to a degree by bringing on Zaha and I felt they also got a bit more direct into Kenwyne Jones.
“Zaha is a good player on the ball and he gave them a little bit of a different dimension, but on the break we always looked a threat. I felt we were comfortable in the first half and on the break we were very good.”