CITY Manager Chris Hughton has praised the defending of his team after a frustrating 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw with Newcastle United at Carrow Road.
Hughton’s Canaries kept his former side at bay throughout the match, but were unable to find that perfect final ball to unlock the Magpies’ back line, despite Russ Martin striking the upright and Anthony Pilkington forcing a good save from Tim Krul late on.
“It was frustrating,” Hughton told Canaries Player. “That’s what happens when you play these type of games where you’re up against a team that are defensively very good, and who also score goals.
“You know you need to be defensively good, and I was delighted with how good we were defensively as a team.
“What was frustrating was that if we didn’t get into good areas, it can be one of those games, but I thought we got into some really good areas today.
“A lot of times when we broke on the counter or outnumbered them, if that final ball was a little bit better….. they played a very fine line in that second half and on a few occasions if looked like we’d got Robert Snodgrass through, or Wes Hoolahan through, but it just didn’t happen today.
“Is there a reason? No. The endeavour was there to do it, but it was just a little disappointing in the final third.”
The result leaves the Canaries on 26 points and in 12th position in the Premier League table – seven points above 18th placed Aston Villa.
For Hughton though there were plenty of positives to take from the match, but he conceded that it just wasn’t City’s day in the end.
He added: “I think probably our set plays, which are normally very good for us, were poor today.
“That summed up a bit how we were. We could go into the next game and our set plays will be completely different. It’s not as if we haven’t got the quality or don’t work on it.
“It was just not our day today in regards to that final ball.
“I thought we were the better side, and if a team was going to win it, it was us, and it looked like we were going to win it with Anthony Pilkington’s effort right near the end.
“As soon as he cut it back onto his right foot then I was expecting a goal I have to say, but they’ve a good goalkeeper and they’re a very good side. Overall I’m disappointed but I’m delighted with the clean sheet.”
There was also a return to action for skipper Grant Holt, who had faced a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury in recent weeks.
The Manager admitted that there was a temptation to start Holt, but he is hopeful to have him involved with the squad again for the trip to Anfield, adding: “We’ve had to tread carefully with Holt over the last couple of weeks.
“What’s more important [than Holt starting today] is that we have him available for next week and the week after.
“There was a fear that if we started him then we were putting him a little bit at risk.
“We have to make these decisions, and they’re tough decisions because I think most would have liked to have seen us start with him.
“We’re hoping he has a good week of training now and that he’ll be available from next week onwards.”
To watch the full interview with Chris Hughton on Canaries Player, click here.