Chris Hughton insists he’s still the man for Norwich
Former Ireland international defiant after Canaries beaten 7-0 by Manchester City
Norwich Manager Chris Hughton looks on during the 7-0 rout at the hands of Manchester City at Etihad Stadium. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton admitted he and his side “let down the club” after their 7-0 defeat to Manchestger City, but he insisted he still has confidence in his ability to lead the club.
City were back to their rampant best as they ran out convincing winners over the struggling Canaries in a one-sided Barclays Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium. An own goal from Bradley Johnson set them on their way before David Silva, Matija Nastasic, Alvaro Negredo, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko all got on the scoresheet.
The result increased the pressure on Hughton with his side remaining in the bottom three.
“At this moment, it is very tough to sit here on the back of that defeat,” he said afterwards. “Apart from two goals — Toure scored a wonderful free-kick and one of them was offside — all the goals were too easy for Manchester City to score.
“It started early; we conceded early goals which put us on the back foot and made us nervous. You can’t afford to do that. It shows the absolute quality they have got, we found it very difficult to handle them and we suffered our biggest defeat.”
Hughton did not shirk his share of the responsibility for the heavy loss. He added: “We all let the club down. I am the manager and I pick the team and determine the tactics. We have a support who have travelled up to Manchester in midweek, to United, almost 3,000, and travelled back up.
“We very much let them down but they are a wonderful support. They would have been entitled to be on their way back to Norwich way before that final whistle went.”
The Canaries have just eight points from 10 games and on the scrutiny of his own position, Hughton said: “I have always had confidence in my ability and in the group of players in the dressing room, but we need to address this one quickly. It is early in the season but I know we are on the back of a very heavy defeat. We have to bounce back.”
City boss Manuel Pellegrini hailed his ruthless side for refusing to ease up. Pellegrini vowed to play compelling, attacking football in pursuit of trophies when he took charge in the summer and he felt his players fulfilled that obligation.
“It was a really good performanc,” he said. “The team played really well during the 90 minutes, not only the first half. Normally when winning 4-0 at half-time, in the second half a team finish or stop. But the team continued playing exactly the same and that’s very important for me.”
It was City’s biggest top-flight victory since 1968 and their most emphatic at any level since hammering Huddersfield 10-1 in the old Second Division in 1987. On some of the fluid moves involving the likes of Aguero, Silva and Samir Nasri, Pellegrini said: “It is the way we work every day. “It is so important for me to see the way I want them to play. They are very good technical players when they move the ball quick and move into space, it is very difficult for our team not to score so we must continue the same way.”
The goals City scored took the attention off the opposite end of the field, where Pellegrini opted to make a big change. After a number of errors this season, England goalkeeper Joe Hart was dropped in favour of Costel Pantilimon, and the Romanian did nothing to harm his cause on a quiet afternoon.
Pellegrini said: “My duty is to see, every week, which are the best players to play every game. We have a lot of games. This game, I thought Joe needed a rest. I think it will be useful for him. He has played every match for the last two and a half years here. We will work hard behind Joe so he can return to his normal performance level as soon as possible but (against Norwich) I thought the best goalkeeper was Pantilimon, nothing more.”