Hughton calls for calm and belief
Published 06/03/2014 | 17:22
Norwich manager Chris Hughton has called for everyone to stay calm as he plots a steady course towards Barclays Premier League survival over the final 10 matches.
The Canaries were stuffed 4-1 at Aston Villa last weekend, despite taking an early lead, and are now once again looking anxiously over their shoulders.
Norwich's need to fast close in on the 40 points barrier is made more urgent by a final four fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
However, after overseeing last season's nervy run-in which eventually ended in the relative security of 11th place, Hughton intends to stay very much focused on the job in hand as he prepares his side for the visit of Stoke.
"Certainly last season, one thing which we did learn from that period is that you have to remain calm because there becomes a lot of pressure on everybody," said Hughton, whose side are four points clear of 18th-placed Sunderland, but having played two more matches.
"Last season up until three games to go, there was something like seven teams who mathematically could go down.
"We find ourselves at this moment in with a group of arguably some 10 teams, so it is important you stick to your principles and keep your calm and belief through that period of time."
Asked if he remained confident he could keep Norwich in the Premier League, Hughton said: "Yes, and there is not anyone here who thinks any different.
"We have not had the consistency we would have liked, but we are around a group of teams who are similar.
"We have to look after our own business to get the results we need to make life a bit more comfortable for us.
"I don't know how many points we will need and at this stage of the season you probably don't want to be.
"Whatever it takes, it takes, so we just want to be getting the results we need."
Club-record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who has yet to score since the opening day, could be back in contention after a knee injury, while Scotland winger Robert Snodgrass (wrist) should also be involved.
However, the timeframe for Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer's hamstring problem remains to be determined.
Wes Hoolahan had put Norwich ahead at Aston Villa and his somewhat muted goal celebration against the club who tried to sign him in January drew criticism.
Hughton feels the issue has been dealt with following direct talks with the Republic of Ireland international.
"I know things that have been said, but having spoken to him I am very clear and confident that there was absolutely nothing meant in it," Hughton said.
"This is a lad who has had a tougher time here (this season), he has not played the games he would have liked, consequently he has not been able to score the amount of goals he would have liked, it is probably one that you almost forget how to celebrate.
"I genuinely feel that if he has upset anybody or anybody has taken it the wrong way, Wes is certainly the first one to apologise or hold his hand up.
"What he did do, and it is important that everybody recognises the support we have, I certainly saw him go over to our support to show his appreciation at the end."
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