Canaries boss Chris Hughton admitted he was left hurting after his side’s Boxing Day defeat to European champions Chelsea.

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Hughton had no qualms about losing to the London club’s world class array of talent at Carrow Road, but the Norwich City chief felt the Canaries contributed to their own downfall.

Juan Mata slammed home a 38th minute winner after the hosts were guilty of conceding possession in the build up – a trait that annoyed Hughton in the opening period.

“There is certainly no shame for us in losing to a real top, top team,” he said. “But it hurts. Up until this game we had only lost once here so we want to get back on track at home.

Hughton revealed afterwards he was a confirmed admirer of Chelsea’s Spanish match-winner Mata.

“He is definitely one of the best in the league,” he said. “I thought we actually restricted him to an extent and the qualities he can show. If you talk about what he has produced this season then he has been outstanding. He is right up there. The fear is always when you face the likes of these teams if you do open up they have such great quality. When you see them at first-hand and the players they have got, players like (Eden) Hazard who they are able to leave out, and he showed what a good player he was when he came on. I thought we dealt with them for really big periods of the game, the chances they had I thought were fairly minimal, we restricted them.”

Norwich centre-back Sebastien Bassong’s towering far post header deep in stoppage time, which bounced over the top from close range, was arguably the only real moment of alarm for Chelsea’s number one Petr Cech.

“I must admit I thought Seb’s header was in at the end,” said Hughton. “There was a fair amount of height on the ball and if anything he had to generate his own power on the ball and got too good a contact on it but at that stage I felt he might have got us the draw.”

Mata’s strike sealed a Chelsea league double over the Canaries this season, but Hughton has not detected a major shift in emphasis under interim manager Rafa Benitez after succeeding Roberto Di Matteo until the rest of the campaign.

“I don’t think the team is different. What has changed maybe between now and last season is they have more exceptional players,” he said. “Mata was incredible last year and they have now brought in Hazard, Oscar and of course (David) Luiz playing in midfield. The difference from last season is the quality of offensive player they have brought in.

“This is a side on the back of scoring eight in the Premier League. Not many can do that. We got beat 4-1 at Stamford Bridge so if anything we have done better today but they are a wonderful outfit with a wonderful manager. What impresses you about all the best teams is the work ethic. You can talk about quality or the money they have spent but they also work really, really hard. These, I am quite sure, will be pushing right through until the end of the season.”

City have reached the halfway stage of the campaign on 25 points, three more than at the same stage last season.

“If you had offered that to me at the start of the season, then yes, certainly, I would have taken it,” said Hughton. “You only have to look at the Premier League week in, week out and see some of the results and that emphasises what a good run we were on.

“Although we’ve lost the last two games we lost them by the one goal and possibly in both of them we could have got more.”

He said more of the same would do nicely in the second half of the season.

“There is no points target, it’s about producing what we have in the first half of the season,” he said. “We know what we have to do to get the points we need. It’s a tough ask because of the quality of this division but we’ve got to replicate more of that.”

11 comments

  • Maybe we buy Garrido---& sign a striker on loan????

    Report this comment

    superfan59

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • Yes, it would be good to get Garrido signed up. He seems settled here and, touch wood, doesn`t seem to have a Sicknote Streak in him. Certainly a class act with his crossing. I wonder what Hoots the Inscrutable has got in mind? Where`s Ewan Chester just now? Fed up of this b****y VW Golf advert popping up. Space Invader and it refuses to "close"! Are VW sponsoring Prolix Paddy or something?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • well, CH, let's have some more shrewd business over the next few weeks. A couple more players like Tettey, Turner and Whittaker and we will be fine. Especially up front! We could do with scoring goals as well as trying to stop the opposition from scoring.

    Report this comment

    CovCanary

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

  • Without selecting Lawro's prediction against Man City it was going to be 0-2, of course there it was. Let's hope once again he has it wrong and it is reversed OTBC, We must rank very low in his eyes

    Report this comment

    Adelaide Canary

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

  • The tabloids are linking us with Danny Graham, Cameron Jerome of Stoke and Matt Philipps of Blackpool, 21 year old 6'1" winger (Pilks-a-like?). The last two seem uncomfortable where they are - I have never been 100% sure about Danny Graham though he always seems to do well against us, three goals last year and for Watford. That Lukaku looks pretty awesome, but the chances of Chelski parting with him or us raising even a fraction of the cash are next to zero. I would not be surprised if all of this was wrong and someone turns up out of left field.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • I`ve seen no mention of Chris Wood (WBA, on loan @ Millwall and scoring for fun). 21, 6` 3", NZ International. Or that Austin @ Burnley. There`s always Chris Martin....... Certainly we cannot plan the remainder of the seaon on a string of clean sheets and a few "nicked" goals. Or can we? I feel sorry for the Horse; he was on track to catching Iwan Roberts in the scoring chart & maybe even reaching the magic 100 before he hangs up his nosebag. Let him fill his boots vs P`bro as a consolation!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • Errm...no I don't exactly regard him as the Messiah Colby ! I agree he's a good manager though + we are playing some very classy football under him. PS: If you think that much of him,you could @ least spell his name correctly mate !

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

  • If CH or the scouting system turned up a free scoring striker, where if anywhere would you start him? The horse plays a vital role in the team plan and it never looks as good when Hoolahoop is not playing. Would you drop Snodgrass or Pilkington and risk losing the midfield battle? I still think we need at least one striker because sooner or later a bigger club will make an offer we can't refuse for Moro and we need substitution options either to turn a draw into a win or a loss into a draw. Another question, will Declan play against Peterborough?

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

  • I agree with Swiss we are still punching above our weight and with some shrewd additions long may it continue. wactor I would hope that we do bring a striker in and not necessarily to be a starter but to give some options when we need to try a change. I was one who had hoped Moro would come good but seems not I would hope Jackson gets a game against POSH and also young Declan. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Jakarta Canary

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy", oh sorry, that was the last one. I think that Hughton has been excellent for us, he really has ;-) I am proud to have him as our manager and I am convinced that he will strengthen the offence in the next transfer window. Chelsea deseved their win but considering the amout of money they have laid out, I am not that disheartened about a 1-0 loss. We still have upgrades that can be made but after one and a half seasons in the Premier League, Norwich continue to punch considerably above their weight.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

  • As far as i am concerned Mr Chris Houghton you are mustard. I hope you stay with us like Moyes has with Everton... Thanks Mr Lambert for getting us to this stage. Long serve us Chris Houghton ....or should i say 'CHRIST HOUGHTON' Who agrees wid me ?

    Report this comment

    Colby Army!

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

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