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HUGHTON ON CHELSEA LOSS

26 December 2012

Boss reacts to 1-0 Carrow Road defeat

CITY Manager Chris Hughton couldn’t find fault with the efforts of his players after a narrow 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat to Chelsea at Carrow Road.

Juan Mata’s stunning goal was the difference in the Boxing Day clash, although Sebastien Bassong’s stoppage time header almost snatched a late point for the Canaries, who worked hard and defended resolutely throughout.

Hughton told Canaries Player: “We were right in it towards the end and I have to say I thought Bassong’s header was in. 

“Once it got to him at the far post he had to generate a fair amount of power, and that’s why it went over the bar. 

“The rain was coming down and it was a very high ball, and maybe if he hadn’t have got such precise contact on it then we might have had the equaliser. On the balance of play I thought we perhaps deserved that.

“I certainly couldn’t fault the efforts of the players and I thought we tactically did what we had to do today, but it’s those little bits of guile and quality that win football matches.”

Grant Holt returned to the Norwich City side for the match after missing last weekend’s tie at West Brom with a hamstring knock, but the Canaries were unable to force a breakthrough against the European Champions, who came into the match on the back of an 8-0 win over Aston Villa.

Hughton added: “Chelsea have got such great quality that you know they’re going to create chances, and I thought we restricted them to minimal chances today. 

“Probably the one real bit of quality in front of goal they had, they scored from it, and that’s why they pay the vast amounts of money for the type of players that they’ve got.

“We knew they were going to have a bit of possession with the quality they’ve got, but I thought we gave a good account of ourselves, and we were better in the second half. 

“Where they looked most dangerous, Chelsea, was on the counter attack, and on three or four occasions that came from poor play in possession from ourselves, and if you give them a chance they can counter very fast. 

“I think as the game opened up it suited us a little bit but it wasn’t to be in the end.”

For Hughton and the squad focus now turns to Saturday’s visit of Premier League Champions Manchester City to Carrow Road, and the Manager admitted he may consider rotating his squad amongst a busy period of fixtures.

He said: “We haven’t had big injuries this season so we’ve been fortunate, and at this moment it looks like we’ve come through the game unscathed. 

“It’s now about managing fitness levels and the next two games. We’ll make decision on whether we use the squad or not, because we’ve players that are desperate to play and are training hard – we’ll make those decisions in the next couple of days.”

To watch the full interview with Chris Hughton on Canaries Player, click here.


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