Norwich City boss Chris Hughton defends his top gun policy against Everton

Gary Hooper is denied by Tim Howard in Norwich City's best first half chance of a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Goodison Park. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Gary Hooper is denied by Tim Howard in Norwich City's best first half chance of a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Goodison Park. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Monday, January 13, 2014
6:45 AM

Chris Hughton was adamant the key difference between Norwich City and Everton was the finishing not the formations at Goodison Park.

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The Canaries’ boss paired Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel up front for the first time from the start in the Premier League, but the big-money summer signings failed to test Tim Howard with the hosts dominating proceedings until the final quarter. Gareth Barry’s venomous long range strike opened the scoring prior to the interval before Kevin Mirallas’ free kick beat a sprawling John Ruddy to seal the points.

“The difference between the two teams on this performance was the quality of the finishing,” said Hughton. “I thought we came here quite aggressively and played two up front to restrict the number of balls they play out from the back, because you have to try and limit their movement and the number of opportunities. They threatened a lot, they were very clever in how they got in behind us but John did not have to pull out too many saves and if Gary had scored that one (in the first-half) it would have given us a lift and we could have pushed on from there.

“I think the system that we played gave us an opportunity to close them down quicker, and an opportunity to get the ball up the park and keep it there. I felt that was quite brave of us to play two strikers. You can play an extra one in midfield and it means you have a bit more possession, but then you’re not giving yourselves the opportunities to score.”

Hughton could admire Barry’s left-footed hit but the Norwich boss was less than impressed with the way Everton’s holding midfielder was allowed to advance to the edge of the visitors’ penalty box.

“They have very good movement and it is difficult to stop everything but yes I think we could have done better on that goal,” he said. “The initial bit of that build-up was difficult because I think Ryan Bennett came out and then dropped back again and there was some movement to the side of him. I think Ryan was nervous to go out and face him up and rightly so with other players making runs, but at 1-0 you know the game can still change in your favour.”

Bennett was also a pivotal figure in Everton’s second just before half-time when he hauled down Leighton Baines.

“My first impression was it might not have been a foul but having seen it since then yes I don’t have any complaints,” said Hughton. “It is a wonderful finish but we didn’t shy away from trying to get back into the game. We can take pride from that last 30 minutes when we had a go and we had our own chances.

“Ricky had a chance, but to be fair it would have been against the run of play and if we had gone on and got something probably an unjust result. I was frustrated not to see that in the first half - I would have liked to have seen more of that. We showed character and I don’t think anybody can accuse us of lying down or not giving ourselves a chance to get back in it.

“They didn’t create as many clear-cut chances as they would like but in the pivotal moments they showed quality. 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 so what you need to do is stick in there.”

11 comments

  • See I feel like the only one who could spot the dangers before they happened. I wrote a piece the very day he was appointed. I was driving home from Manchester to Norfolk listening to Talksport the whole way which is painful enough at times, waiting for the announcement. Soon as it was announced my mood sunk. I always compared the Lambert replacement as a similar story (although on a much much smaller scale) to replacing Sir Alex at Utd. Lambert was great at NCFC, but he wasnt the god some claim him to be. He had faults, just he out weighed them with good times, passion, belief and watchable football. Always said I wouldn't want to be the man to follow him and the appointment would be vital to include a few key attributes. Problem I pointed out via my Social media outlet was with Hughton hes always been known to play the style of football we've seen at NCFC. As I pointed out the day we appointed him, the style doesn't so much bother me as long as he achieves results. I did also however point out that it was my belief a % of fans wouldn't take to the massive change in style from attacking, exciting games to dull, defensive games. The part I hadn't thought about was if that happened and we played shockingly bad, morale reached an all new low and are status in the league came under threat.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • Reference use\misuse\abuse of statistics; NCFC did indeed finish a place higher under Hoots than Lambo but with 3 fewer points. That also included 6 points gifted to us by two teams with nothing to play for. Under Lambo we had achieved the magic 40 points with 6 games to go. The football was watchable, too. Maybe Lambo`s magic would have run out, who knows? One day we`ll know what really went wrong with his relationship with the Club, but it`s just water under the bridge now. I honestly believed that Hughton was just about the perfect pick for the job in hand but there`s no denying that, apart from the 10 game undefeated run last season, it`s been lean pickings.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • Right... So he spends the last two seasons playing loan striker (getting us higher than Lambert did in the process) and we get the Hughton Out brigade with their rather offensive comments (clueless, etc) and then offensive comments to those who back him (deluded etc). He plays two up front, just as was asked if him, and how it's 'it was the wrong game to do it' etc. It's getting a bit stupid and it's ruining the atmosphere at CR. There's so many people clinging onto their superior beliefs, dragging any excuse or statistic that they can to support their inout opinion and actually everyone's just bored of the style of play. Just about every team below 9th plays the same boring 'scared of relegation' tactics. It's a fact of Premier League life. I'm neither in nor out. I've seen us sack managers in the past and only once has it made a difference and it happened right at the start of the season. The stat I'm interested in is the one that says position after 38 games. In that stat Hughton has proven himself. So sack him in close season because at this stage, changing managers will almost certainly relegate us. Then we can debate whether we've progressed enough or whether we need a change.

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    Dan

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • “I think the system that we played gave us an opportunity to close them down quicker, and an opportunity to get the ball up the park and keep it there". Which game are we talking about? surely not the one where the Everton midfield were constantly running at us unchallenged until they either got a shot off or Ryan Bennett dived in at the last minute. I don't remember us keeping it in the Everton half for very long for most of the match.

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    Swiss Canary

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • I have never known a season where so many goals against have come from opposition players given the freedom of the park to choose their spot and score from outside the box. Don't mind conceding well worked goals, but to give an open invitation all the time is too much. As for playing to "Close them down quickly", i have not seen too much of that happening this year.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • Yes, Brew statistics 'never lie' and the relegation form that we exhibited post-Christmas under PL is yet another fact!

    Report this comment

    ScotCan

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • what ever is hoots talking about?

    Report this comment

    bluelight

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • Right... So he spends the last two seasons playing lone striker (getting us higher than Lambert did in the process) and we get the Hughton Out brigade with their rather offensive comments (clueless, etc) and then offensive comments to those who back him (deluded etc). He plays two up front, just as was asked if him, and how it's 'it was the wrong game to do it' etc. It's getting a bit stupid and it's ruining the atmosphere at CR. There's so many people clinging onto their superior beliefs, dragging any excuse or statistic that they can to support their inout opinion and actually everyone's just bored of the style of play. Just about every team below 9th plays the same boring 'scared of relegation' tactics. It's a fact of Premier League life. I'm neither in nor out. I've seen us sack managers in the past and only once has it made a difference and it happened right at the start of the season. The stat I'm interested in is the one that says position after 38 games. In that stat Hughton has proven himself. So sack him in close season because at this stage, changing managers will almost certainly relegate us. Then we can debate whether we've progressed enough or whether we need a change.

    Report this comment

    Dan

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • Double- post! Sorry. At least no. 2 removes the typo.

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    Dan

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • ..I thought we came here quite aggressively and played two up front to restrict the number of balls they play out from the back, because you have to try and limit their movement and the number of opportunities.. Therein lies our problem. Firstly, I'm not against the use of two strikers. It was good to see the pair of them on the pitch together. However, playing two strikers to simply limit Everton playing out from the back is NOT the best use for them. RVW and Hoops should be given decent service, as part of an ATTACKING intent. Please try to use them in this manner against Hull this week. - Chris: They are strikers. They score goals for a living. They are not designed to be used as your first line of defence. We now have 13 games to get 20pts to the reach the supposed magical 40points. Interestingly, it's taken us 21 games to reach our current tally of... 20. I'm not counting the last four games for obvious reasons. With that current trend, we'll be hoping that 33pts is enough to stay up. I've crossed my fingers. I may just cross my legs too.

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    Eddie

    Monday, January 13, 2014

  • Hughton all over. The one time he plays them together is the wrong game to do it in. Home games against teams in the bottom 13 are when they should play together. Clueless Chris strikes again.

    Report this comment

    Colin

    Monday, January 13, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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