Boss reflects on Stoke victory
NORWICH City Manager Chris Hughton was a happy man on Saturday after masterminding his side’s third win in their last four games as the Canaries put Stoke City to the sword in the Barclays Premier League at Carrow Road.
Bradley Johnson’s first-half header was enough to seal the hard-fought three points – putting City on ten in total from the same number of games.
Injuries to Michael Turner and Javier Garrido meant Leon Barnett and Ryan Bennett were called upon to deal with an aerial bombardment from the visitors, but City defended resolutely against Tony Pulis’ Potters.
Hughton told Canaries Player: “It’s satisfying. It was a real tough game, and irrespective of whether you play Stoke home or away, they are a team of quality.
“Stoke play a very effective style of football that is difficult to deal with.
“For me the most pleasing thing is the clean sheet. To change the defence with injuries to Turner and Garrido was a blow, and it disrupted the back four, but for my players to get the clean sheet was great.
“We took Turner off, and I don’t think Garrido’s injury is too bad. Russell Martin’s back is still giving him problems, he tried it yesterday and it wasn’t close. It’d be nice to get at least one of those three back for next week.
“You have to be fortunate at times that the ball bounces in the right place and you’ve got to make sure you defend well and stop the supply against Stoke. It’s tough to do that for 90 minutes.
“We could have made life easier for ourselves because we had a couple of chances but I’m delighted.”
City were good value for the win in a keenly-contested game, and did have chances to extend their lead during the 90 minutes, but overall the Manager was thrilled with the win – particularly that it came courtesy of another set piece.
He added: “It’s an area that we haven’t done well enough in this season, especially with the delivery of Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington.
“We’ve needed to add set play goals to our game, and I’m delighted to have got that. It was a great header too.
“We could have made life easier for ourselves because we had a couple of chances but I’m delighted.
“Certainly with Stoke when they’re chasing the game, you know what they’re going to do.
“It’s difficult to stop it, because it can come from the goalkeeper or the defenders. You’ve just got to defend well enough, and we did. It’s a big win for us.”