CITY Manager Chris Hughton has praised his players for their hard work after securing a 1-1 draw against Dutch champions Ajax at Carrow Road.
Anthony Pilkington opened the scoring for the Canaries with a free kick, only to see Lasse Schone level later in the first half.
Hughton also revealed the extent of defender Steven Whittaker’s ankle injury picked up in the 1-0 win over Celtic at Parkhead in July, which is likely to rule him out of the opening game of the season against Fulham on August 18.
He told Canaries Player: “We had to work hard for what we got, and I’m delighted with what the players gave me.
“We possibly could have been a little bit better on the turnover and creating chances, but we knew we were up against good opposition and it was a good work out for us.
He added on Whittaker: “Steven is probably going to miss the first game. Anytime someone goes over on their ankle you’re always dreading that it’s going to be a long term injury.
“It’s not to that degree, which we’re delighted about, but it’s certainly going to keep him out for a few weeks.
“You only have to pick up the newspapers in the morning to read about players that have picked up injuries in pre-season which have kept them out for months, and it’s part and parcel of the game – you just hope you can get through pre-season with minimal injuries, and at the moment we’re ok.”
There were plenty of positives for Hughton to take from a resilient display in front of 16,708 fans at Carrow Road though – not least the first appearance of new signing Robert Snodgrass in a City shirt as a second half substitute.
“It was good to get him on,” said Hughton. “When a player moves to a club at this stage, they will generally miss out on a few days training because they need to sort a few things out, and that has been the case with him and Michael Turner.
“We certainly had to work very hard for the draw. These are a team that are ahead of us in their pre-season preparation – they play their equivalent of their Charity Shield on Saturday, and the season starts the following Saturday - at times that showed.
“They moved the ball very well, and they look what they are – they are the league champions. They’ve got quality players and anybody who wanted to sample what Ajax was about, they certainly saw it tonight
“There are games where we are going to be able to create a lot more, and there are gave where we will have more possession than what we had tonight, but we’re up against the Dutch champions who will be playing in the Champions League.
“We found it difficult with their movement at times, but we restricted them to minimal chances. They scored a super goal from outside the box, and most of their chances and efforts were from outside the box, so we’ve got to give our lads credit and we created one or two opportunities ourselves.”