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HUGHTON ON STOKE DEFEAT

PUBLISHED

18:00 27th April 2013

by Ben Mouncer

Manager disappointed with team's use of the ball

NORWICH CITY manager Chris Hughton admitted his side didn’t do enough in possession to force a positive result in their 1-0 defeat to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.

The Canaries couldn't manage a shot on target as they struggled to break down the Potters’ resolute defence, with Charlie Adam nicking the game’s only goal just moments after the break.

Hughton thinks City dealt with Stoke’s notorious physicality well but just couldn’t muster a threat in the final third.

“We didn’t play enough. We were up against a physical side, we knew that, and probably back to their most direct best as such,” he told Canaries Player after the final whistle.

“I thought we coped with it very well in that first half period, but what we needed to do was break off that shape and have opportunities ourselves.

“We certainly outnumbered them in the middle of the park, but I don’t think we made good enough use of that one. On the occasions when we did break, what we didn’t have was enough quality on the end of it.

“On given days, we can show quality going forward and in our crossing, but we didn’t show that today.”

Hughton refused to criticise his players' effort, though, saying they showed the endeavour to make something happen but that it just didn’t click on the day.

“You can’t ask any more of the players – they’re certainly working hard enough,” he added.

“It wasn’t a lack of wanting to make things happen. We went to 4-4-2 and played Wes in almost a little bit of a free role, and in that last period we played three at the back and pushed Pilkington up on that left-hand side.

“You have to give credit to Stoke – they defend very well in numbers when they have to but we needed to show more on the ball today.”

Sebastien Bassong appeared to limp off towards the end of the game, but City’s boss is hopeful the knock won’t have any lasting effects.

“We’ll see with Seb. I think he perhaps could have continued, but we’ll see how he is over the next couple of days and find out whether he’ll be fit for next week.

On the season’s climax, Hughton added: “We need to make sure that in the next three games we get the points so we don’t have to worry about the points around us.”

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