DESPITE suffering a narrow defeat against Portland Timbers in the final match of their USA tour, City boss Chris Hughton reflected positively on the tour as the Canaries prepared to return to the UK.
“It is not just about the games, it is about the experiences,” said Hughton.
“We have been very well looked after. We have had three very good games to play in and there has been good support from the public and irrespective of results I think it has been a very successful tour.”
The 11-day trip has been of great benefit to all the City squad as Hughton’s men prepare to get their Barclays Premier League campaign underway against Everton at Carrow Road on August, 17. However, the City boss was swift to acknowledge that the trip to the US also provided a fantastic environment for his summer signings to bed in and mix with their new team-mates both on and off the pitch.
“We’ve had a chance to integrate the new boys. A football environment is never that difficult to blend in usually but we have a very good group here.
“That is part of the reason why the trip has been very, very good. It gives them an opportunity to gel with the other lads, to get to know the other lads and hopefully that makes things a little bit more comfortable when we get back home.”
With City set to return to training at Colney again on Monday, all attentions will now switch to Tuesday night’s friendly away to Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion (kick-off 7.45pm).
“It has to step up again,” said Hughton ahead of the Canaries’ first-ever trip to Brighton’s Amex Stadium. “We are getting closer to the first one. The pre-season, in a lot of ways, is never a reflection on how you are going to do. I have been involved in many when we haven’t done particularly well and started the season well and vice versa.”
Minutes on the pitch, match fitness, systems, formations and a healthy competition for places are all factors that needed to be catered for during any pre-season programme and the City boss is happy with the progress being made to date.
“It is about the new players settling in. It is about making sure they are happy with the shape and the system, of bedding them into the philosophy of what we want and of course at this moment if I look at today (Portland match) Alex Tettey didn’t play, Pilkington didn’t play, Martin Olsson, Garrido and that is of course without Seb, Michael and Bradley who are back home. At the moment we have real good competition.”