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20 August 2012

Chris Hughton reflects on Fulham loss

NORWICH City Manager Chris Hughton has called on his players to bounce back after a disappointing 5-0 defeat to Fulham on the opening day of the season.

After a solid start to the match, City conceded two goals before the break, and weren’t able to find a way back into the game as focus now turns to Saturday’s clash with Queens Park Rangers at Carrow Road.

Hughton told “Unfortunately it’s the nature of our game, that when you don’t put in a good enough performance, particularly against a team as good as Fulham, there is every chance you’re going to come unstuck. 

“But you don’t expect to concede five goals, not on the first day.

“You have to remember it’s the first game of the season. Defeats are defeats, and you have to be able to bounce back and learn from them.

“We got a harsh lesson , and the players and myself need to learn from this. We need to make sure it makes us stronger and more resilient.”

New boys Michael Turner and Robert Snodgrass both came in for debuts against the Cottagers, but once Mladen Petric’s deflected second half strike made it 3-0 to the hosts, it looked an uphill battle to rescue anything from the match.

“The first 25 minutes we kept possession okay, and we restricted a very good Fulham team to minimal chances, and for me personally it turned on the two goals we conceded in the first half period. 

“Up until then I thought we were quite resilient, and they were two poor goals to concede. It gave them the lift they needed and it made us change our approach.

“We made a substitution at half time and decided to go 4-4-2, which we knew could possibly get us back into the game but open us up a bit more, which unfortunately it did.

“Our tactic was to come here and make it difficult for them, but to have a threat going forward ourselves, and it’s tough to get that balance. But in that balance you’ve got to make sure that you’re not conceding what I consider soft goals.”

A disappointed Hughton was unhappy with the manor that some of the goals were conceded against Martin Jol’s side.

He added: “They scored one very good goal, but for me four goals were avoidable. 

“I thought our shape was very good in the first half period, and when it’s good, you need to make sure that you don’t concede, and at that stage we conceded two goals.

“We were up against a team that were technically better than us today, and if you give them a chance to capitalise, they will. 

“The first goal was a long diagonal, and we need to deal with that better. We didn’t defend, as a team, well enough today.

“They are very good in central midfield, and if you give them too much licence to play in there, they will hurt you.”

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