May 22 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 26, 2012
Chris Hughton insists the Canaries will not get caught up in the Paul Lambert sideshow ahead of this weekend’s Premier League reunion with their former boss.
Lambert’s fractious departure in the summer and the ensuing legal fallout has predictably dominated the build-up, but Hughton is doing his best to insulate his players from any such distractions. The City chief was yesterday happy to acknowledge his predecessor’s Norwich legacy, whilst placing Saturday’s much-anticipated assignment in perspective.
“Certainly from our point of view, it doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “Whether we are fighting for three points at Aston Villa or anywhere else, once that whistle goes we know only one thing matters.
“Of course it is different in some ways because of the previous manager. It is a very, very small detail, though, the bigger detail is it is three points to play for and from Paul’s point of view I am sure it will be exactly the same.
“I’m sure the players who worked with him here see it as another three points. What we will have is a group who were grateful to Paul for the magnificent job he did here, but a football match is our focus and there is only one objective.
“Irrespective of any other circumstances, it is about three points. I don’t think there will be any added pressure.”
Norwich’s fan base may see things differently following Lambert’s acrimonious exit, but Hughton believes that is part and parcel of the professional game.
“I can understand if something is made of the fact that it is Paul Lambert playing against his old club but that is normal. It is not something you don’t experience in football,” he said. “Paul did a wonderful job over the three years that he was here. I can absolutely guarantee you once the game kicks off it will be 11 versus 11 on the pitch and it won’t be about the managers.
“Whether there is going to be any extra spice with the supporters I don’t know. What I would like them to do is what they have done very well in my time and that is got behind the team and support the team.
“We are very conscious they have had a couple of very bad days at Fulham and Chelsea and at both those places they were excellent. They tried to get behind the team and spur them on.”
Hughton has not been fooled by Villa’s patchy Premier League start under Lambert which continued with a late defeat at Fulham last time out.
“I think in some ways they have been similar to us,” he said. “We have seen a fair few of their games and there hasn’t been anything wrong with their performances.
“We certainly watched them at Fulham and they would have been disappointed coming away thinking they had lost the game, because for large periods they were in it.
“I think their form has been good, the energy in the side has been good and of course they are a team who have made changes over a period of time and it is about adapting to that.”