Standards must not drop - Norwich City boss Chris Hughton
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Chris Hughton has warned his improving squad not to let their standards drop ahead of this weekend’s Premier League trip to Reading.
Hughton admitted after the club’s latest 1-0 top flight win over Stoke at Carrow Road the Canaries’ recent results in league and cup combat have produced plenty of selection headaches.
The Norwich boss made ten changes for the Capital One Cup success against Tottenham, with only Michael Turner and Robert Snodgrass retaining their place in the starting line up for Stoke’s league visit.
Hughton insists City’s long-term prospects hinge on maintaining that level of consistency.
He said: “It was hard to pick a side for Stoke and I hope it will be hard the next game, and the next game and the game after that because that means they are all putting in a shift, training with intensity and making it difficult for me.
“The Spurs team showed that. They were in on merit and Michael was the only one to start both the previous league game and the cup tie. They know if they are not doing a real shift then there is every chance they won’t play. The longer you are involved in this division and what the players have put in, you have to do that because the teams in this league are too good.
“With the quality of the (Manchester) United’s, City and Chelsea in this league they can produce something out of nothing. We have to fight and earn our points and we have started to do that.”
Hughton conceded City’s positive response since heavy league defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea prior to the last international break have taken a huge collective effort.
He said: “It has been a tough couple of weeks. It feels like we are a lot longer into the season than we are, but we know where we are as a football club.
“We know how tough and demanding it is going to be and any three points we can pick up is a valuable three points.
“It’s nice to have the wins. We know we are going to have plenty of losses but it is just so important to get the points. The real frustrating part for me was not the opening game, when we didn’t get the result, it was not getting what we deserved after that.”
Stoke counterpart Tony Pulis certainly felt short-changed after he claimed the Potters were on the wrong end of contentious refereeing decisions at Carrow Road. Pulis renewed his calls for the officials to receive retrospective help after Premier League games to try and adjudicate on potential skirmishes. Hughton believes innovations like goal line technology are a better starting point to improve the game at the top level.
He said: “We might get to a point where that might happen, but probably not at this moment. Things like goal line technology might come before that, but it is a subject on people’s minds. I am quite sure if the authorities need to do something about it they will.
“The problem is the cameras pick up every angle and sometimes things in the past that wouldn’t have been seen are now being seen and that adds to the debate a lot more.”