Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich City could well have pulled off a famous Premier League win in a late flourish to a spirited 0-0 top flight draw against Manchester City.
The Canaries had to dig in for dear life during large parts of the second half but broke out in the final moments with Ricky van Wolfswinkel unable to connect with Nathan Redmond’s driven low cross and Anthony Pilkington rifling over from an acute angle. Norwich’s home support showed their appreciation at the final whistle for a committed rearguard action from Hughton’s side.
“We have a support here that know the game and they know how good Manchester City are,” he said. “To keep them out was probably why they reacted like they did at the final whistle but it was more than that. They also saw us trying to win it at the end. You know you will have to defend for large parts of the game against a team like Manchester City but we had some opportunities as well towards the end. It is difficult to play a normal game against City because they have so many good players. We knew we had to work on the defensive shape and that is what we worked on most of the week, but we also had to be a threat. We had to be disciplined and a threat on the ball.
“Okay, we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net but I felt we did most things right today. It has been a difficult area of our game. We have got clean sheets against good opposition which shows our organisation and resilience but we have fallen short at the other end and we know we have to address it. We should have won the game at Cardiff with the amount of chances we created and here we had three good chances. Nathan Redmond goes through in the first half on the right-hand side and Anthony Pilkington as well and we need to make more of those moments.”
Hughton was unable to offer a view on a stoppage time flashpoint that sparked an angry reaction from van Wolfswinkel with television replays appearing to show Manchester City’s powerful midfielder Yaya Toure kicking the back of the Dutchman.
“I must admit I haven’t seen that incident,” said Hughton. “What I would say is Ricky is a strong character and he would not react if he didn’t feel something had happened. I have spoken to him. I am not aware of that. I’m sure if that is the case enough people will have seen it.”
Hughton confirmed after the game Robert Snodgrass suffered a groin injury at the start of the week. The Scottish international could have played but Hughton opted not to risk the midfielder ahead of the upcoming trip to West Ham. Jonas Gutierrez damaged his calf in the final training session ahead of Manchester City’s visit. Ryan Bennett was ruled out with the thigh injury that saw him unable to train since last weekend’s Cardiff City defeat.