Monday, November 19, 2012
Norwich City’s wide boys Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington earned Chris Hughton’s seal of approval.
Pilkington’s athletic glancing header sunk Manchester United, but it was their combined efforts without the ball to subdue Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia that impressed Hughton.
Snodgrass’ exertions left the Scotland international prone on the turf in the closing stages suffering from cramp, to typify City’s will to try and limit United’s supply from the flanks.
“He covered a fair distance,” said Hughton, following Snodgrass’ late exit for Elliott Bennett. “It is always a balance and most teams against Manchester United do that width better than anybody. The other top teams generally would not play with two out and out wingers. United do and the crosses they get in is shown up by the amount of goals they score. If you are getting wide midfield players to work hard going backwards it is going to take a little away from your offensive play. Both of them did it well.”
Hughton is urging Pilkington to improve his personal tally after opening his account for the season in style.
“I thought it was an excellent goal. Anthony has that quality and I thought he was excellent,” he said. “He had to be – particularly with Valencia on that side. I don’t think the goalkeeper could have done much about it, but it was nice to see him scoring. He has that quality to be scoring more goals. He’s a good player, Anthony. He’s probably got to add a few more goals to his game because he is capable of it. But I thought it was a very good all-round performance from him. I thought his overall game, even defensively, getting back in, was excellent.”
City’s collective desire edged United’s undoubted class and that is the way Hughton views the survival equation over the entire duration.
“I think so – and that is no disrespect to any players,” he said. “This Premier League is such a tough, tough league and there are teams that are very established in this league. This is only our second season after having a very good season last season.”