Manager delighted with performance in Stoke victory

CHRIS Hughton was in no doubt that his Norwich City side fully merited the three points after they notched their second league win of the season by beating Stoke City 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

Jonny Howson’s 25-yard strike ten minutes before half-time was enough to separate the two teams on Sunday afternoon, and City’s manager admits he was delighted with the performance.

“I don’t think there will be anyone who saw the game thinking that we didn’t thoroughly deserve it,” he said when speaking to Canaries Player after the game.

“You have to battle against the height they have, and after they changed in the second half to go more direct, you have also got to show a real desire and your physical abilities in the team.

“I thought over the 90 minutes we were excellent, and we needed to be because once you deploy that system you need to make it work. It was a good all round team effort, and it had to be.”

Hughton was particularly pleased with the efforts of his midfield, which was deployed in a slightly different shape to previous weeks, and was happy with Howson’s contribution from midfield.

“He is a talent. He is one that there is some debate over, and that’s with us as well. What we do know is that he is a talent,” he added.

“He’s a player from midfield who likes to break, so it’s the same with him as it is with Leroy Fer – it’s about getting those right balances.

“It was really good to get Anthony Pilkington back, a player who we have missed, and overall tactically we got it as well as we could have done.”

Reflecting back on a busy week after the Aston Villa defeat last Saturday and the midweek Capital One Cup drama against Watford, Hughton says this result away from home gives him plenty to smile about.

“There’s nobody who takes the defeats harder than I do, and it becomes a miserable week when you lose, but you have to be able to lift players and yourself,” he said.

“We’re used to that pressure – if you can’t handle it, then it’s a very difficult place to ply your trade. That’s when you look for players to dig deep, and I think that’s when they really enjoy it. That’s why we’re in this game.

“It’s really nice that it’s come away from home too, because we’ve struggled to get the right formula away from home. The away wins are the ones that give you the most joy.”

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