Time to seal the Premier League deal, warns Norwich City chief Chris Hughton
07:00 24 March 2014
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Chris Hughton challenged his Norwich City players not to squander a fresh chance to secure their Premier League future after sweeping aside Sunderland at Carrow Road.
Robert Snodgrass’ fourth in his last eight league games and Alex Tettey’s stunning 30-yard volley before the interval clinched the win to pile the pressure on Gus Poyet’s team, who were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when Marcos Alonso picked up a second yellow card. City can make life just as uncomfortable against Swansea, West Brom and Fulham in the weeks ahead and ease their own lingering fears of being sucked into a late season relegation battle after pulling seven points clear of the bottom three.
“The manner of the win was important because if that performance does not give us confidence nothing will,” said Hughton. “We wanted a reaction (from Southampton) because we weren’t good enough. That is not just down to individuals. You have days when you come out second best and in those games you have to make it a tighter battle and difficult for the opposition. We didn’t. We had to give the crowd something to shout about and we did.
“I thought we were excellent. We didn’t shy away from the fact we knew this was a big game because of who the opposition were. I thought we were excellent from start to finish. Generally when we have needed a big result they have managed to pull one out and that shows the character. What we were able to do was get the goals when we were on top and sometimes we have found that difficult.”
Tettey’s long range match-winning salvo sparked jubilant celebrations on and off the pitch led by Hughton.
“Alex does a lot of the hard work that goes unseen but he is a competitor and when he scores a goal like that he has to be on the winning team,” said Hughton. “It capped off a really good performance overall from him. We have had better performances perhaps, but you have to score the goals at the right time and in that first half period when we were good we got those goals.
“You know they have to change things and put the extra man up front and they will chase it and if they get one back then it gives them a lift. Then it becomes a question of showing nerve because you know Sunderland will take risks, but I thought we were resilient all the way through. In the second half the level of performance was still good enough to go on and score more goals. I thought we could have got another couple on top for our goal difference.”