Norwich City boss Chris Hughton will not give up on his striking dilemma

Norwich City's 
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has failed to add to his solitary Premier League goal. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City's Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has failed to add to his solitary Premier League goal. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Saturday, February 1, 2014
7:30 AM

Chris Hughton is not immune to the criticism he has failed to embellish Norwich City’s defensive resolve with a genuine attacking edge.

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But the Canaries’ boss is adamant he will find the elusive answer to try and unlock the undoubted goalscoring pedigree of Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

Both have been paired together in recent weeks with limited success and with Luciano Becchio and Johan Elmander yet to open their league account Hughton knows that is a worrying trend which threatens the club’s passage to a fourth successive season of top flight football.

“The only good formation is a winning one, it is as simple as that,” he said. “We have four strikers and, yes, we need to address how we score more goals. You can focus on those individuals or the team as a whole who have to provide the service.

“It is certainly not a lack of ability because they are all proven players, but it is not only us. There will be other clubs and other forwards in this really tough division who have found it more difficult to get that end result. We know there are areas of our game that we need to improve.

“I think you are always trying to get the right balances in the team and we have tried to address the goalscoring issue on a lot of occasions by playing two up front; we have certainly done that more regularly than last season. If you don’t play 4-4-2 then you get criticised for not looking for goals but if you do play the two strikers sometimes you get over-run in midfield. It is about a contribution from everybody – not just goals but in assists.”

Hughton remains convinced Hooper and van Wolfswinkel can work in harness.

“Gary went through a really good period scoring goals but it is difficult to play two high up,” he said. “There has to be a responsibility at times from one or both to drop in and give us a little more strength in the higher areas of midfield and that can take a little bit of energy away in those key moments in the final third. I want them to play smart and play sensible football, but I’m aware of the criticisms with that shape up top. To play two out-and-out strikers and two wingers is difficult in the modern era.

“I have been happy with the two strikers, but it is not just about them, it the team and the whole staff. We are all conscious of the facts. It is about better quality finishing, maybe a touch of fortune, possibly we need to be more ruthless as well and making sure as a team we continue to create chances. What I do know is we have hard-working team players in those forward positions.”

City’s opponents on Saturday have tended to play with one recognised forward up front this season under both Malky Mackay and his successor Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

“The new manager will have his own ideas on how he wants to go about things,” said Hughton. “They have brought in new players the last few weeks so we don’t know for certain how they will set up. I have an awful lot of respect for Malky. He did a fantastic job there. He gave that club a lot, but that is the game.”

54 comments

  • So Hughton comes out and said this, he has a striking dilemma, need he have to say more that he doesn't have the abilities to see the one player in his squad that can supply and help the wolf and hooper score more goals, i can't explain how angry i am with this, THE ONE PLAYER WHO CAN CHANGE ALL THIS IS WES HOOLAHAN AND HE DECIDES TO TREAT THE PLAYER WITH NO RESPECT OR ANYTHING, OUR STRIKERS CAN'T SCORE IF THE ONE PLAYER WHO IS TECHNICALLY GIFTED AND SMART ENOUGH TO PLAY CLEVER LITTLE BALLS NEVER PLAY, SNODDY AND REDMOND ARE WINGERS THEY CROSS WES WHEN HE PLAYS HE OFFERS MORE OPTIONS AND OPENS SO MUCH MORE SPACE FOR SNODDY AND REDMOND, WE WOULD LOOK SO MUCH MORE OF A THREAT WITH WES IN THE TEAM, OR BE IT YOU HAVE TO PLAY EITHER THE WOLF OR HOOPER BUT THAT'S NOT A BAD THING AS WHEN WES PLAYS OFFERS MUCH MORE SPACE FOR SNODDY AND REDMOND TO BE MORE OF A THREAT AS THE OPPOSITION WON'T JUST THINK OH YEAH WE WILL SHUT DOWN THEIR WINGERS AND ITS EASY AFTER THEN, THE ONE PLAYER WHO CAN CHANGE THIS IS WES HOOLAHAN, YOU SEE ALL THE PLAYERS ARE MUCH MORE HAPPY AND COMFORTABLE WHEN WES PLAY AS THEY KNOW HE WILL WON'T THE BALL EVERY SINGLE TIME, MY TEAM WOULD BE, RUDDY, MARTIN, BASSONG, BENNET, OLSSON, JOHNSON, FER, REDMOND, SNODGRASS, HOOLAHAN, HOOPER, THE TEAM WOULD SHOW BALANCE, WITH JOHNSON AND SNODGRASS WHO DO THEIR DEFENSIVE WORK REALLY WELL, AND THAT LEAVES REDMOND, AND HOOLAHAN, TO JUST ATTACK WITH FER SITTING RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARK, TO DEFEND AND ATTACK, IT MAKES SENSE, SORT IT OUT HUGHTON, THEIR WAS ONE REASON WE DIDN'T BRING ANY PLAYERS IN, BECAUSE THE BOARD HAVE LOST FAITH IN YOU!!! LOSE TO CARDIFF, COULD BE A BLESSING, BECAUSE WE NEED WES HOOLAHAN IN OUR TEAM, I KNOW EVERY SINGLE FAN WILL AGREE WITH ME ON THIS WELL THEM WHO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT FOOTBALL,

    Report this comment

    hooley14

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Even our, arguably, worst ever manager, Bryan Gunn didn`t splurge £8.5m on a lightweight striker. Though he did waste £400k on Grant Holt. Best thing for Norwich now is Hughton goes on strike, along with his lacklustre lackeys.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Not so much a dilemma, more like a complete lack of service and a rigid management system that will never work.

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    el dingo

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • …..does anyone else get the impression that 'hooley 14' could be 'Hoolahan 14'?..... That's how I would feel if I was Wes!!!!!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Well said that man! Whats the plot for today? One up front, against the worst team in the league? Hopefully as Malaga said, the players are one first name terms at least.

    Report this comment

    Yellowfirebird

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • The answer to this dilemma seems straightforward to most of us, get a target man for Hooper to play off, then switch to a 4,3,1,2 formation or try a 3,4,1,2 formation, either would work better than the wrong sided winger approach. It could not be any worse that is for sure.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • how about start without wingers, play Tettey and Johnson, both to hold back as the full or wing backs charge fwd, Fer, RVW and Hooper in attack, on 60 mins change the formation with with RVW sitting behind Hooper or visa versa, and bring on the Pace of Redmond or a Murphy for Johnson with the freedom to swap wings as he pleases Happy Tettey roam to fill the void that having a winger on only one side would create, maybe change a tired Martin for Whittacker at the same time or Garrido for Ollson depending on who's legs have gone. Hoots need to learn to adapt and not be so rigid.

    Report this comment

    MBA Marine

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • The fact that the" man of the match" against Man U. has not played since, is very strange. That was one of the reasons I voted for change. I was one of the first here to think that little money was given to the manager in the transfer window says alot. Problem is, will we still be in the prem at the end of the season. I,m not going today so maybe luck will change. OTBC

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Defensive resolve? Is this the team thrashed at man city, liverpool, man utd, Fulham, and looked seriously dodgey many many more. I would say this season he has added to the inept attack with a shakey and inconsistent defense.

    Report this comment

    Burglecut

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • HUGHTON FOR THE SACK OF THIS CLUB LEAVE BEFORE YOU SEND THEM BACK TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP IF NOT THIS SEASON IT WILL HAPPEN NEXT SEASON AS YOU WOULDT KNOW A QUALTIY PLAYER AND GET THEM TO PLAY QUALITY FOOTBALL .

    Report this comment

    Obi-wan

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • At five o'clock today we will know our fate, if we cannot beat the bottom club then we will be relegated, however if we win then we still have a fighting chance, and if we draw then who knows.

    Report this comment

    sjguk267

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • I typed 'Happy' in that last post, I have no idea why. Random!

    Report this comment

    MBA Marine

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Sunderland and Crystal Palace going great with change of manager, Fulham certainly not going backwards, Cardiff - let's hope their new manager turn around doesn't start today. I think the issue is clear - we have a manager who cannot get much, let alone the best, out of the squad we have. He has had enough time. I am really disappointed with the board and McNally. They either need to support CH and tell the fans to get behind him, or make a change. They seem to be sitting on the fence totally impotent to the situation around them, while the other teams around us are building. CH is too nice for the EPL. I think the players quite like him because they are getting an easy time for their money. A real go-getter manger would drive them hard, but get the best out of them.

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Brilliant post Malaga and then a good one from Michegan. Buit NICE ONE, how can you say that you can't criticise the manager when he eventually recognises what most of us have been saying for months. Sorry to disagree but shouldn't the manager have seen it before the fans rather than afterwards?

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • I wonder if Mr Houghton can see what we see after only being allowed to bring in 2 loan players until end of season?

    Report this comment

    elmboy

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Kpg24uk I think most supporters will agree with you But that was all done under Lambert & Culverhouse & they have proven on e few occasions against us that hughton is incapable of all that you have written

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    elmboy

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Well it looks like we have to go with what we have got. In the summer everyone was raving about the the signings of Hoops and RVW. If we are not going to play the wide men on their correct side of the pitch to enable them to get to the line then drop one out. Play Fer and Tettey and either Wes or Howson when he is fit to get the ball for the front two to run onto. Pointless playing two wingers if we are not going to get the best out of them. So lets get behind the team and give them the support they need whether they deserve it or not. Especially if we get any more displays like Tuesdays against Newcastle. I agree Hoots does not seem to have a clue most of the time but we are stuck with the 3 amigos for the time being. So get behind the team they are going to need that 12th man in the coming games. Add your comment | Report this comment JohnW

    Report this comment

    JohnW

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • When Hughton first came he inherited a reasonably competent all round squad. Then he changed the tactics putting the emphasis on defence and made the defence better for a while, but created the problem of not scoring goals and a stalling midfield. This season the defence has become very poor and the problems with midfield and attack has worsened. His expensive strikers can't buy a goal and I am afraid that RVW is very poor indeed. With or without service he should have scored more than one goal surely. Unfortunately Hughton keeps on with the same team selections and the same ambition wrecking tactics. Surely he must realise by now that those players and tactics are not working and he is incapable of changing things. It's too late now to change things as far as the manager and coaches are concerned and we are doomed to relegation I'm afraid. Then the board can still sit back and gloat on the fact that we are not in debt - well have a poor team and an even worse manager but at least we will be solvent..

    Report this comment

    VictorM

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • MBA , a happy Tettey is an effective Tettey ;-))

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    mjc75

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Well what a palava! Had this horrific Winter Vomiting virus ever since Tuesdays luckiest draw ever against Newcastle. (hopefully not brought on by NCFC display that day!). But just remembered since I started my new tradition of at least typing 1 message on this board on a match day (which on the weekend I never use to do!) we have not lost. Fair enough we have not won much either but still working so far. Hope all are well after a yawn of a deadline day but come on, you were all kidding yourselves if you thought we were gonna pull something special out the bag. Wasnt even a decent bit of gossip let alone anything solid from my usual decent sources. Everything about NCFC vs Cardiff should say 0-0 but got a bad feeling it'll be Ole's first win as Cardiff manager today. Just hope my 2nd prediction of we make it easy for them doesn't come true either. Worrying that the Newcastle side that totally dominated us tuesday is now struggling against its arch nemesis. Watching West Ham as well only backs up my theory that we need a traditional target man like Andy Carroll, to make Hughtons tactics work. Without one the whole basis for the tactic falls apart and we rely on set pieces instead. Ah well, wait and see. Fingers crossed ive read today totally wrong and its 3pts for city....Norwich City!

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • The next couple of months could become very stressful for us all - hoping it can only get better, we desperately need to see some goals please. Go for it guys. OTBC! x

    Report this comment

    CANARY-CRUISE-GIRL

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Sorry Hughton you have had pre-season and more than half this season to resolve the problem and we are just as far away as ever from any solution. You spent a large sum of money on three front men, all with goalscoring pedigrees. Yet you have been unable to get anything out of them, Hooper excepted. If you can't see the problems by now you never will. It is lack of support from midfield and lack of any decent balls up to them. You have the players on the training pitch every day yet they don't even seem able to turn up on match days looking like they know each other, what their roles are or how to pass and move to gain ground. You have had another chance to rectify this in the transfer window but you haven't done so. All we have achieved is bitterness with players like Hoolahan opening wanting away but being forced to remain here. For what purpose? You won't play him even though for all his faults he is the only playmaker we have available right now. Please tell us how you may now be able to resolve this suddenly, as if by magic?

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • The problem seems to be the lack of a plan in midfield. We don't seem to have much idea there about how to get the ball forward quickly and attack in numbers, creating pressure. Howson's loss has been very important, we miss his energy and drive. Wes is good at linking the midfield to the attack...he had a great game against Man U and hasn't featured since.

    Report this comment

    pablo

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • so another Churchillian speech from our illustrious, stating the blindingly obvious, leader. He is admitting failure as they need to find a winning team, McN please take note. Hughton...the only way to find a winning formula is to try different things. Try RVW or Hooper up front on their own as longs as we have 3 attacking mids floating around the pitch behind. Try snoddy just behind. Try wingers on their right sides. Try Fer further forward now Tettey is back. Try the Murphys in the same team (they have a brilliant understanding) Try bringing Neil Adams into the fold. Try bringing in an attacking guru. Try try try different things.

    Report this comment

    kpg24uk

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • I suppose Hoots cannot be accused of being `Eire-ophobic`; though his detractors are slyly accused of much worse. Or is it any worse?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Totally agree with target man, which for now has to be elmander, rvw on the bench & hooper playing the flecky roll. As MF says Hughton has these players all week! Surely they have times in each training session where they actually get the midfield passing the ball & then moving to receive or at very least open a space for a pass to a team mate (& not opposition)

    Report this comment

    elmboy

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • you don't have to play two - one plays off the other and they have the guile to swap around... but none of it matters if they aren't getting the ball and that means quality creative runs and passing...

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • West Ham and Sunderland both 2-0 up at last look. Apocalypse Now. The Sum of all Fears. If those scorelines stay like that and we lose at Cardiff, we are in deep stuff. So are Swansea, but there`s no consolation in Schadenfreude for me, though I do enjoy the discomfort of others. Actually, looking at our remaining games, we need to WIN at Cardiff. If the worst case scenario materialises, Canary Call will be pungent.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • MBA , a happy Tettey is an effective Tettey ;-))

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    mjc75

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • VictorM could use a dose of the 'Happy' that my mind is dishing out! Happy effective Tettey, I do hope so.

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    MBA Marine

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Or ROIsist?

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • VictorM could use a dose of the 'Happy' that my mind is dishing out! Happy effective Tettey, I do hope so.

    Report this comment

    MBA Marine

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Can't disagree with the intent of what CH is saying. You can't criticize the manager when he eventually recognizes what most of us on here have been saying for months. The problem, of course, comes with the question of whether he can come up with a plan to achieve this objective and then successfully implement it to positive effect on our results. What happened to the "WM" formation?? Perhaps that's where it all went wrong. Could be a plan as nobody expects the "WM" formation. The description of 4:4:2 is an inexact description of a formation as it depends entirely on the sort of players included in the midfield 4. It could contain 2 wingers then in reality it becomes 2 in midfield and that is how you get overrun in this area of the pitch. At the other extreme you could have 4 proper midfielders there and you would then achieve a 4 man midfield if that is what you are aiming for.

    Report this comment

    NICEONE

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • JONNY . yes they will come good when they are back in the championship .

    Report this comment

    Obi-wan

    Monday, February 3, 2014

  • Blimey, hooley14. I think I agree with much of what you shouted but had to wear ear-plugs as I read it! Is your CAPS LOCK STUCK?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • ..Hey There Hoolahan 14!....what cha' doing this afternoon?.....He's on his way out!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • elmoboy - is there a campaign to stick an o in the middle of Hughton's name? It's really not a difficult name to spell ! As for the striking dept, Hooopoer has proven to be an excellent signing. Not so convinced by Elomanoder, at the end of the day he hasn't scored in the league and Ricky van Wonkel to be fair gives his all but wasn't worth the fee paid. Boecchioo might be the answer but no one can deny, he is brilliant at sitting down.

    Report this comment

    Johny

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Letter to Norwich City Football Club Manager. - Mr Hughton, the transfer deadline has been reached and this club has enough players of ability to work for both you and everyone else concerned. There may be players who have reason to be unsettled, with much that has happened in the recent past, that which is happening now, and their attitude to playing in the required manner until the end of the season. As manager, it is your responsibility to fill them with enthusiasm! It's 'cards on the table time'. Do not assume that you have ALL the answers. It is quite apparent to those on the fringe that you don't. Be, man enough to allow other thoughts to be considered!. Get EVERYBODY onside as from today, loosen the reins and allow them a bit more of footballing self expression. You may have been a good footballer in your playing career. But lets face it you were only a LEFT BACK..... Try plucking a few Pheasants! PS! Well said Mich'

    Report this comment

    Pa Snipps

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Lambert apparently did want Holt for Colchester, DerekMcD, but they couldn`t scrape up £400k. It`s a bit like that electric shaver advert chap, Victor Kayam (?). He liked the razor so much, he bought the company! Remington? One of the famous ones, anyway. Holt started for Villa yesterday, but didn`t score. That season of drudgery under the dual yoke of Hughton and Bewilderwood took its toll. If anyone can get the Big fella firing again, it`s Paul Lambert. Holt was the solitary positive from the hapless Gunn`s brief spell as `manager`.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • Right before I'm told off , I only posted that once .

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    mjc75

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Malaga-----no more to say---100 percent---wish i could buy you a beer.

    Report this comment

    superfan59

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Todo es correto Malaga. Hughton out. No hidden agenda with me. Anyone know what that's all about anyway?

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Malaga-----no more to say---100 percent---wish i could buy you a beer.

    Report this comment

    superfan59

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • …..Sharky !...I have my own ideas about why we are denied the presence of Hoolahan in our side, and it's got very little to do with football!....You, being fortunate enough to dine with Delia, may have an element of 'inside' knowledge.... Share it with us please!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • I think Hughton should get a job as a Table Football Coach. He could cope with the brainless rigidity of that form of the game plus the players don`t have minds of their own, so there`s nothing to coach out of them. Also they don`t answer back. Fans wanted `2-up-front`, they got 2-up-front - but with no midfield system, structure, resolve or creativity to support the `strikers`. Better off playing nobody up front and going for fifteen 0-0 draws. 39 points should be enough. Or hope somehow to contrive a free kick in a dangerous place, eg the opposition`s half, or even scramble the odd corner. Then we can see Robert`s quality deliveries (sounds like a man with a van) creating goals for Ryan Bennett, Bassong or Ruddy. Carlos Nash is quite tall; he could come on as a last minute sub to be `target man`? PS. That 0-0 draw scenario is certain to be blown away by ManC, Liverpool, Ar$enal & Chelsea, I suppose? 35 points may be enough..... There`s Auto-Expectation Management for you.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • I wonder where Hughton gets his confidence from?? He is the person responsible for the ineffective ridgid defensive football, it hasn't been imposed on him. He is the one that has completely wasted the talents and abilities of hooper and van wolfswinkle, why did he buy them if he had no clue how to play with them.

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    Burglecut

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Very well summed up 'malaga'.

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    Lobbo

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Having watched every City game this season, it is so obvious that the link up play from Wes Hoolahan has been so badly needed, especially as both the Wolf and Hooper are not able to hold onto the ball up front. No sooner have made progress into the final third, the move breaks down after easily losing possession. The last game Wes was involved in, he was our "man of the match". His reward?. Dropped for the foreseeable future. I don't see that as good management.

    Report this comment

    Bally High

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Maybe he`s Ersist? No, that doesn`t add up either.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Lambert had the right idea, by signing Holt, bet he would have scored goals

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    Derek McDonald

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • Calm down Dobby. Please chill out and stick with lower case. Hughton's team will come good old chap.

    Report this comment

    Johny

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

  • Didn`t there use to be an element of innate talent in footballers? They react to situations and create situations, not necessarily according to some magic master plan dreamt up by the maestros on the touchline. Instinct, drive, passion and even a sense of joy. Heaven forbid. These players are performing well below what they are capable of, what they have shown they can do in the past. They seem to be suffocating. malaga has it right, sadly. Carrow Road seems to be turning into a graveyard of ambition.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Fingers crossed for today ,but I just know the comment from the vicar tomorrow will be ! We started off to slowly and they have quality players,blah blah, ! come on board do you job before its too late ! we cant all be wrong can we ?

    Report this comment

    nelly

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • JONNY. Yes they might come good when they are back in the championship.

    Report this comment

    Obi-wan

    Monday, February 3, 2014

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

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