Premier League asking for one game too far, says Norwich City boss Chris Hughton

Chris Hughton feels the Premier League are asking too much of teams over the current festive period. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Chris Hughton feels the Premier League are asking too much of teams over the current festive period. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Monday, December 23, 2013
11:56 PM

The Christmas schedule is nothing new to Chris Hughton – but the Norwich City manager does believe the Premier League is asking clubs to play one game too many over the festive period.

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While the merits or otherwise of a winter break continue to be argued, the more pressing concern to most top-flight bosses will be the prospect of playing five games in the space of about 15 days – a run that started with last weekend’s fixtures.

Having drawn at Sunderland last Saturday, City host Fulham and Manchester United on Boxing Day and the following Saturday respectively, before a New Year’s Day trip to Crystal Palace four days later and a home FA Cup third round tie the next weekend – against Fulham.

“It’s certainly a schedule I’m used to, it’s one the players are used to and their Christmas doesn’t change,” said Hughton. “It’s tradition but I think we are getting to the stage where we are able to pull one of the games out.

“I think the Boxing Day game is tradition and it’s something we are all very much used to. But of course, we are now going to go into a period of games where we’re going to play on Boxing Day, on Saturday, and then again on the Wednesday.

“So could we pull the Saturday game out? And that in effect gives us a game on Boxing Day I think everybody looks forward to, and then again on New Year’s Day.

“I think there is scope to pull one of the games out but I don’t see, at this particular moment, a winter break – although I know it’s something a lot of people have spoken about and are thinking about.”

Hughton has no fresh injury concerns following the goalless draw at the Premier League’s bottom side on Saturday, as they prepare to take on Fulham – Jonny Howson (back) and Russell Martin (ankle) will continue to be assessed over the Christmas period.

“It was a big blow for us and more so a big blow for Jonny,” added Hughton. “He’s been in really good form.

“He felt it during the week and was certainly too sore for Saturday. We’ll just have to see how that settles down over the next couple of days.

“We certainly haven’t ruled him out of any games. He’s a tough character. But we’ll have to assess it.

“Russell’s was more of a precaution. At a push he probably could have been involved at the weekend, but we knew with this series of games coming up that it’s important we made sure we didn’t take any risks. So he’ll be fine. He’ll train today (Monday) and will be available for this series of games.”

11 comments

  • Old Timer if we were back in the 50's or early 60's we would be getting ready for the match rather than staring into space and trying to look busy when the wife is around. Xmas day football was the highlight of the season. Merry Christmas old boy.

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    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013

  • He's not being negative he's telling the truth. Every team in the league has a preferred starting 11 and Howson would be part of that, especially as he's now in the best form we've seen him in a Norwich shirt. As for the schedule Hughton has a point. If it could be more practical, why not make it more practical? He's not being negative! I'm sure the lads are in a positive mind, they're currently three games unbeaten, with two consecutive clean sheets, Hooper scoring goals, our record signing and Snodgrass back to strengthen the team and a home match in front of a packed stadium knowing that 3 points in this game would be massive. If that doesn't put our players in a positive frame of mind, what does? The players know that without Hughton telling them. It would be Hughtons job to keep the players composed and send them out with instructions to do a job and get the three points and I wouldn't bet against Hughton doing just that.

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    Hello Neil

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Everyone sing along with me. "We won't ask a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing we need"...................................................................new management and coaching staff please Santa.

    Report this comment

    oldtimer

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013

  • I remember the days when there were two games in two days just after xmas. You played the same team twice. The most famous instance of this was West Ham beating Blackburn 7 one at Upton Park and the next day Blackburn beat West Ham by 8 two.

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    Steely Dan

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Don't you just love it, every interview the man gives people come out of the woodwork to criticise what says. And yet they accuse HIM of being negative. As in keeping with the season, bah humbug.

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    PaulWho

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Steely, don't bring Blackburn and seven into the equation!

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Six PL points and being in the fourth round draw will make it all seem worthwhile.

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    waclor

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • CH , Footballer are super fit and would rather play than train, you have a squad of players to use if they are not good enough to slot into the team why are they here , so stop your usual negative comments and get the lads in a positive frame of mind for this busy period.

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    Melvyn Parkerson

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Balance this with the two weeks without a PL game because of the "International Friendlies" early in the season and it certainly doesn't make any sense at all to cram in so many games into the festive season. Needs some sensible rationale here, but when has "sensible" and "Premier League" ever gone together ?

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    Dubai Canary

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • I have never been a fan of CH and to be honest I would love to be proved wrong and have him be a great success, but here's a quote from CH in the star.... "But the fear of dropping down gives you the desire you need." Read this through a couple of times, ridiculous statement .

    Report this comment

    Rottsrool

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • We also suffer more than some other clubs through being situated so far from the motorway network. Still wouldn't want a Boxing Day fixture away to Swaffham though.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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

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