Relief for Chris Hughton - and the rest of Norwich City’s new boys
It’s always a big relief to get your first point of the new season on the board, and after the huge disappointment of Craven Cottage the lads performed at a much higher level against Queens Park Rangers, undoubtedly feeling slightly hard done by that they didn’t take all three points.
However, I’m sure the point they gained will have been satisfactory for Chris Hughton after the season opener.
Hughton opted for the more traditional 4-4-2, giving Simeon Jackson the nod to partner Grant Holt – and how the little man repaid the manager’s faith when heading the Canaries’ first goal of the season from close range after an inch-perfect cross from Anthony Pilkington.
Chris also gave home debuts to two new signings. At centre-half was Sebastien Bassong, who is a tremendous acquisition for the club. He’s experienced, strong and very quick, qualities which are invaluable at this level.
Javier Garrido came in and did a good job at left-back, but the pick of the new boys for me was Robert Snodgrass. I think he’s far more effective playing in wide areas than just off the centre-forward like he did against Borussia Monchengladbach and Fulham.
On Tuesday, the club progressed to the third round of the newly-named Capital One Cup. It’s not been the kindest of cup competitions for the Canaries over the past few years.
Last season the lads got hammered 4-0 at home by MK Dons at the same stage of the competition, so it was nice that the club beat another League One side to reach the next round.
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Chris decided to make 11 changes to the side which drew with QPR and was justified in doing so with a 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe United.
Managers have been criticised in the past for fielding weakened teams in this competition, but nobody has the right to tell a manager who he can and cannot select. After, all he’s the one that will lose his job if he gets it wrong.
Tomorrow, Chris takes his players down to the club at which he spent 13 years as a player, amassing close to 300 league games for Tottenham, winning the FA Cup twice and also the Uefa Cup with the Londoners.
After he finished playing he returned to White Hart Lane where he began his coaching career, spending another 14 years at a club close to his heart. It will clearly be a special day for him tomorrow going back to his old stamping ground as a manager of the visiting team.
It hasn’t been the best of starts for Spurs’ new coach Andr� Villas-Boas with only a point to show from their opening two games, and after the disappointing draw last weekend against West Brom the club’s supporters vented their frustration at the former Chelsea manager. Having sold Luka Modric to Real Madrid on Monday for over �30m, I’m sure he will have strengthened his squad, with the impressive Moussa Dembele arriving from Fulham.
Last season Norwich had their best performance and result on the road at White Hart Lane, winning 2-1, and if the lads can produce the same level of performance they will be in with a great chance of giving Hughton an enjoyable return to the club that he served so well.