Norwich City boss Chris Hughton wants to keep the good times rolling against Tottenham
Norwich City boss Chris Hughton believes the club’s newfound momentum can carry them on to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup this evening against Tottenham.
The feelgood factor has shown signs of returning to Carrow Road impressive performances against Arsenal and Aston Villa and Hughton is delighted his side are finally reaping the rewards of the hard work his players have put in.
Spurs will be another big test with manager Andre Villas-Boas vowing earlier this season to treat each competition the Londoners are involved in with respect.
But if the Canaries can squeeze through this evening then the world will seem a much rosier place to City supporters compared to how they were feeling three weeks ago.
“I felt we were always confident with the performances we had and I know most managers would sit here and say the same thing – they feel they should have more points – but I generally feel that our performances warranted better outcomes,” he said.
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“We have always had that confidence but if you are able to beat the likes of an Arsenal at Carrow Road and on the back of that one it was a very good performance at Aston. That has been our season. We have had some lows and some really impressive performances. The morale amongst that has been really good.
“We accept as a club nothing will come easy to us. No doubt we are in good form and on the back of four points from last six it lifts everybody. That is the feelgood factor you want around the training ground.”
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Russell Martin is the only absentee from the squad this evening with a back injury but that doesn’t mean there won’t be major changes from the side that drew at Villa.
Steven Whittaker and Jacob Butterfield are certain starters whilst the likes of Andrew Surman, Robert Snodgrass and Jonny Howson are all likely to be included. It is a case of juggling his options for Hughton – League Cup progression would be nice but three points at home to Stoke on Saturday would be even nicer and he will manage his resources as such.
“As football managers you always have to get the right balance between real good competition in the team,” he added. “You are always going to get players who are desperate to play. Where I am fortunate is we don’t have injuries at the moment, apart from Russell (Martin). We have a squad full of Premier League players and it is my job to get the right balance – it is still my responsibility as the manager to work the squad we have got.
“I am fortunate in that respect. It is not as if when I look at the players outside the last starting XI as such they are young up-and-coming players. They are really pushing the others for places.
“I have to try and keep some continuity but also continue to have that real competition in the team.”
Hughton has fond memories of the League Cup having won the competition as part of George Graham’s backroom staff at White Hart Lane in 1999. The 53-year-old acknowledges it is a competition that someone outside the Premier League elite can spring a surprise.
“When we won it, it was the Worthington Cup but whatever the name of it, it is one you want to do well in. There aren’t many teams who are going to win this or the FA Cup and if you have an opportunity to progress it is a big plus for the club.”