Norwich City boss Chris Hughton complains of New Year’s Day injustice
16:28 03 January 2013
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Chris Hughton left Upton Park with a sense of injustice at the manner of Norwich City’s fourth festive Premier League loss following a 2-1 New Year’s Day defeat at West Ham.
The City manager was convinced referee Mark Clattenburg got the key decision wrong to award the Hammers an early penalty after Ryan Bennett was penalised for holding Winston Reid’s shirt. Mark Noble despatched the spot-kick and Joey O’Brien doubled the hosts’ first-half advantage before Russell Martin’s 90th-minute consolation.
Hughton was in little doubt Norwich were on the wrong end of a series of contentious calls. He was adamant Norwegian international midfielder Alex Tettey had been fouled by Carlton Cole in the build-up to West Ham’s second goal, and was upset to see two penalty appeals waved away when Reid appeared to handle the ball inside the West Ham area and Harry Kane later tumbled following a tangle with James Tomkins.
Hughton, who made his feelings clear to Clattenburg both at half-time and full time, said: “There was certainly also a handball in the first half that wasn’t spotted and Harry had a penalty claim in the second period. My frustration is if a penalty is not given to us for the handball you accept sometimes they don’t get it right or they don’t see it. If it is deemed not a penalty or he hasn’t a clear view that is fine. The one that hurts is when penalties are given you don’t think are penalties.”
As for his side’s performance, Hughton added: “We showed in the second half a bit more of what we are about.
“Nobody has really given us a beating and they have all been really close games. We have to be at our best to get results and we have been close in the last four games. For us now it is about getting back to winning ways.”
City went into battle without injured strikers Steve Morison (thigh) and Grant Holt (hamstring) and Hughton confirmed both will also not be available for this weekend’s FA Cup third round tie at Peterborough. Javier Garrido was a surprise omission, but the Spaniard was left out as part of a plan to combat West Ham’s aerial threat.
“No, it was a tactical decision. With Brad Johnson out of the team and no Grant or Steve you have two of your main players out of the side and we just felt with how strong West Ham are on set plays and the way they get the ball forward we needed to make sure we could match them a little bit,” said Hughton, who had Martin deputising for Garrido at left-back.
“With Grant, in the end we had made up our mind over the last few days that he wouldn’t be playing today. We’ll assess him in the next few days, but he won’t be available for the weekend. We certainly wouldn’t take the chance and we will look for the Newcastle game. Steve is another we are still assessing, but he will certainly be out for a couple of weeks.”