December 11 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Norwich City boss Chris Hughton will take any flak going to protect his players.
The Canaries’ chief believes a confidence-boosting 1-0 Premier League away win at Stoke was the perfect response to those questioning whether he is the right man to take the club forward. Hughton’s selections and tactics have come in for criticism after a patchy start to the new campaign, but the Norwich boss felt City’s success at the Britannia was a testament to his squad’s fighting spirit.
“You have to be as calm through any periods of supposed pressure because ultimately it is important for the players not to feel that,” he said. “Did it feel like there was some additional pressure? Yes, because prior to the game we were sitting fourth from bottom and that brings it own pressure because results have not been good enough.
“If you didn’t have a belief in your own abilities and what you can do with the team then you wouldn’t take the job in the first place. It comes with the territory. If you are talking about managers then nobody can possibly put themselves under more pressure than the manager themselves. We take every defeat heavily and the burden of results is always on you as a manager.”
Fulham’s Martin Jol is the latest top flight manager in the firing line after losing at home to Cardiff and Hughton admits that is the nature of management at the highest level.
“I think the investment in the game is bigger these days. The ownership is different than it was before in a lot of cases, the financial pressures to stay in the division are huge. It is a combination of things,” he said. “From my own perspective there’s nobody who takes the defeats harder than I do, and it becomes a miserable week when you lose, but you have to be able to lift players and yourself. I know what character I have in this group of players.”
Hughton was convinced he had the personnel to deliver a much-needed result in the Potteries despite recent league setbacks.
“The spirit has been good. Stoke told me nothing I didn’t already know,” he said. “It is a big result for us and it feels like a big result. It has been hard on the road and hopefully this will give us a bit more confidence. When I look back at the season perhaps the most disappointing one was Tottenham, when we were very poor. Hull was a game we should have done better in but at the time we felt very aggrieved that we had a penalty given against us which was horribly soft and then we get the penalty (against Aston Villa) and we miss it. You have to ride all these disappointments.
“A lot was said about the Villa defeat, but regards possession and getting the ball into the final third it was as much as any game I had been involved in at Carrow Road. You set your team up to try and get results and you know some places will be more difficult than others to go and do that.”