Norwich City are in downward spiral, admits Chris Hughton

Norwich City skipper Grant Holt found it difficult to find an opening once he came on.

Norwich City skipper Grant Holt found it difficult to find an opening once he came on. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton warned his Norwich players they will have to live with the legacy of their shock 1-0 FA Cup fourth round loss to Luton Town.

The experienced City boss knows his squad carved their own niche in Cup folklore for all the wrong reasons after becoming the first top flight club since Coventry City in 1989 to lose to non-league opponents.

“This is a game we were expected to win, the criticism will be harsher from all quarters. What we have to do is be able to take all of that on the chin because it’s going to hurt for a little while,” he said.

“We’re all hurting at the moment. There isn’t one of these players who won’t be aware of what today meant – not one of them.

“For anyone who doesn’t, they’ll soon hear on the radio or pick up the papers and it’s going to be a tough few days for us.

“Even if they’re not aware of that it doesn’t make any difference. What they are aware of is that it is a game we were expected to win. It’s a game they know if we don’t win there will be a lot of criticism.

“Of course, a lot will be made of the fact we didn’t win. Probably more will be made of the fact that Luton did win and we have to give them credit. They came with a gameplan, made it very difficult for us and we didn’t do well enough to open them up.”

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Hughton admitted there is precious little time for navel-gazing with Champions League-chasing Tottenham’s Premier League visit on the horizon and City on what their manager has labelled a ‘downward spiral’ since a club-record unbeaten run in the modern era.

“What we do have is another game on Wednesday and we’ll certainly have to better than today and better than of late,” he said. “We are on a little bit of a downward spiral. If you ask me did we deserve to lose the game, then categorically we didn’t. I thought we had the better chances. Although it wasn’t a good enough performance we had more possession. We didn’t put the ball in the back of the net and if you are vulnerable at any stage things can go against you.

“Yes, we are in a downward spiral at the minute and we need to turn that around very quickly. If our recent form continues into the next games, it’s going to be very difficult to pick up results and pick up points.”

Hughton again had reason to focus on City’s inability to unlock the opposition, in what has become a recurring theme during the club’s testing campaign.

“We found it very difficult to break them down,” he said.

“The good chances we had we could not put them away and that would have changed the game. Even in the second half period when we pushed and pushed they caught us on the classic counter-attack.

“That was a poor goal for us to concede and it was one thing we said at half-time. Yes, we wanted to push and as much as we wanted to get back in the game and get this goal we knew they were a fit side.

“Perhaps that one opportunity they had, they scored in the second half. If you don’t put your chances away and create the chances you need then it is going to be a difficult afternoon.”