Norwich City’s new style provided ideal test for Chris Hughton’s Brighton squad ahead of Premier League challenge
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The style of Norwich City’s play under new head coach Daniel Farke provided ideal preparation for Brighton boss Chris Hughton.
City start their Championship campaign at Fulham on Saturday but the Seagulls have another week to wait until playing their first top-flight game since 1983, at home to Manchester City.
The Premier League new boys step up their preparations with games against Spanish top-tier teams Girona and Atletico Madrid this week but former Canaries boss Hughton was happy with his side’s Carrow Road test.
“If you look at the two sides of the game, a wonderful strike by Nelson Oliveira towards the end but apart from that Matty Ryan wasn’t really troubled too much,” the former Tottenham defender said.
“So from that aspect it was a good working performance from the front, they’re expansive, so all of that I was reasonably happy with, but I thought we had to be better on the ball.
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“Going into the Premier League we are going to have to have games where we keep the ball better because we expect that there are going to be some teams that are very much possession-based teams.”
City fans will watch Brighton’s progress closely this season, after a disastrous 2013-14 season which saw the Canaries sack Hughton with five games remaining but still get relegated from the top flight, after scoring a club-record low of just 28 goals.
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“One thing you have got to do in this division is score goals,” Hughton continued. “You can try to be resilient and as solid as possible but what you have got to do is win games and from that point view is create and score.
“It’s why it’s the biggest part of the team and the most expensive part of the team generally, when you look at the quality of offensive players. We certainly need some additions to the squad and I’m quite sure that will happen.”
He was pleased with the header scored by summer signing Pascal Gross in the 21st minute though, adding; “A very good cross and goal and that’s what Pascal can don, he plays in that number 10 role and can break forward, he’s a player that covers a lot of ground and you need that flexibility.
“I was also pleased with Izzy (Brown) because he’s a bit behind everyone else in terms of intensity of his training. We didn’t have him with us when we had a really good week in Austria so he’s just a little bit behind but players like Izzy and Pascal are going to be invaluable for us.”
The 3-5-2 set up of the Canaries, with goal-scorer Marley Watkins in support of striker Cameron Jerome, also provided an apt tune-up for the visitors.
“It’s very difficult, without paying big money, to get that kind of quality in that area to play consistently 4-4-2 in the Premier League,” Hughton continued.
“What you are now finding with teams who want to get two up front, two real forward players as such, are opting to go with three players at the back in a 4-3-3 or a 3-5-2, which is what we were up against.
“It’s not one that I’ve worked on so much or thought about but I think as a coach, particularly in the top division, you’ve got to be open to that type of thing.”