NORWICH City Manager Chris Hughton was left feeling disappointed after a 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat to West Ham United on New Year’s Day.
The Hammers took a 2-0 lead in the first half – the first through a controversial penalty, and the second through Joey O’Brien, after a suggestion that Alex Tettey had been fouled in the build-up.
However Hughton was quick to point out that the first half performance was not up to City’s usual high standards, despite a second half improvement that saw Russell Martin pull one back a minute from time.
He told Canaries Player: “You don’t want to make excuses, and West Ham were better than us in that first half period.
“They started better and we gave away a penalty so early in the game.
“There is no doubt that Ryan Bennett had got hold of Winston Reid’s shirt, but Reid also had his forearm in Ryan’s chest.
“On the odd occasions that you do see them given there is a little bit of uproar because numerous ones are seen and not given.
“So I’m disappointed that that went against us, and I thought the challenge on Alex Tettey in the build-up to the second goal was a foul. It pulled him out of the game in an area that he would have had an influence.
“They started better than us, but the second half performance was a bit more what we’ve been like and the good play that we showed nearly got us back into the game.
“Again though we’ve given ourselves a bit of a mountain to climb and it wasn’t enough in the end.
“We’ve certainly been on the back of misfortune, but it’s about a performance and we didn’t perform to our capabilities in the first half.
“To be fair to the referee he explained what he saw and the reasons why he gave the decisions.”
With Steve Morison and Grant Holt currently out injured, Harry Kane started for the Canaries in attack, whilst Javier Garrido was replaced by Ryan Bennett.
Hughton explained: “The decision to leave out Garrido was tactical. We know that when you come here you get a very physical game against a side that get a lot of crosses in, get a lot of set plays and are very strong.
“With Bradley Johnson out and Grant Holt and Steve Morison missing we were a little short of height, so we wanted to go a little bigger at the back, and be able to cope with their direct play at times.”
On the prospect of some new arrivals in the January transfer window he added: “We’re working hard, there’s no doubt about that.
“It’s about making sure anything we do is right for the football club. What we don’t want to do is strengthen the squad in areas that we don’t feel are right for us. If we see there is an opportunity and it is right then we’ll endeavour to do so.
“The scouting process goes on throughout the year, and it’s about what’s available and what is good business, but as always the best way of doing business is very much behind the scenes.”