Result against Southampton can help ease Norwich City’s pain of defeat at Manchester United
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City boss Chris Hughton insists his players can shrug off the disappointment of another heavy defeat on the road when they take on Southampton at Carrow Road next Saturday.
The Canaries, who have conceded five goals at Fulham and Liverpool and four at Chelsea on their travels this season, were on the receiving end again as Premier League leaders Manchester United scored three times in the final 14 minutes to wrap up a 4-0 victory and handsomely avenge their defeat at Carrow Road in November.
City became the 13th visiting team to leave Old Trafford empty-handed in United’s 14 home league games as they were ultimately swept aside by that late goal flurry.
But Hughton said: “We bounce back. We have a very big game at home now to Southampton. We will dust ourselves down.
“This will hurt us, it certainly hurts me because I don’t think it is a fair reflection because we had to put in a real good shift. We have to look forward to the Southampton game.”
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Apart from a bright spell early in the second half, City, who fell behind in first-half stoppage time to the first of Japanese star Shinji Kagawa’s three goals, seldom looked likely to salvage a point, still less complete a shock double over United.
Wayne Rooney scored the fourth in the final minute after setting up two of Kagawa’s treble.
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Hughton added: “I don’t think the score was a fair reflection but it shows the quality of the team they put out in the first place. If you afford them the spaces we did in that last period, they have the type of quality that can really hurt you.
“The first goal was a poor one by our standards, but I think the second goal hurt us perhaps that little bit more because at that stage we had to open up a little bit.
“They are such good players and their touch is so good it is a game where your concentration levels have to be there for 90 – or maybe here 94 minutes – because they can score at any time.
“I suppose if I’m looking at the plus points we can take from the game it is the mark of respect the team they put out and something we can take some credit for.
“We were up against probably two of the best strikers in the world at the moment in Rooney and van Persie. Even perhaps on a bad day, they can produce bits of quality and he (Rooney) did.
“You hope you get a bit of fortune in front of your goal or the ’keeper has a good day and you’re able to have good periods of possession yourself. I thought we got it right in the first half but to sustain that for 90 minutes is very difficult.
“At 1-0 there is always a chance and it’s a question of balance – how much of an attacking threat can you be? I thought we had periods of the game when we kept possession and we looked like we could threaten, but they have such quality.”
Hughton reported no fresh injury concerns despite goalkeeper Mark Bunn taking a couple of knocks and both Robert Snodgrass and Wes Hoolahan being withdrawn in the second half.
He said: “We are OK. At that stage I brought two on because it is always a hard shift coming here. You have to work very tough, defensively and closing down players and it was just a question of bringing on some fresh legs.”
Hughton admitted City’s home games offered the most realistic route to survival with at least two more wins needed to ease them to safety.
“Yes, but that would be the same for most clubs at our level. You have to look at having a good home record and the bonuses are what you can get away from home,” he said.