Friday 24 November 2017

Hoolahan joy after showing Hughton 'what he's missing'

NORWICH city 1 Crystal Palace 0

Wes Hoolahan
Wes Hoolahan

Jamie Holland

FANS' favourite Wes Hoolahan admitted that he has found it difficult watching from the sidelines after he marked his return to the Norwich side by setting up the winner for Gary Hooper at Carrow Road.

Hoolahan made his first start since the opening day of the campaign, with his league contribution in the intervening period restricted to three substitute appearances totalling 29 minutes.

Norwich fans had called for Chris Hughton to restore the Dubliner to the side and he justified the decision by creating the game's only goal for Hooper with trademark awareness.

"I haven't played for a while so it was nice to be out there, and obviously you've got to run around and show the manager what he's missing and hopefully I did that today," said Hoolahan.

"I always give my best and it was great to see the fans clapping me off the pitch.

"It's been very hard. As a footballer you want to play every game and be involved. We have a big squad and a lot of talented players in the team so it's nice to just be out there and playing with the boys."

Hoolahan hopes the victory can be a springboard for Norwich's campaign after a difficult run that placed Hughton's position under scrutiny.

"Obviously we can't rest on what we've achieved today and hopefully we can just go on from here and push up the table.

TOUGH

"We've got two tough away fixtures (Liverpool and West Brom) but we go into them with confidence from the win and hopefully we can pick up some points."

Hughton praised Hoolahan's contribution and said that his preference for two strikers is the reason why the playmaker has been starved of opportunities.

"Bringing Wes in wasn't a tough decision in regards to the abilities he's got," said the manager. "It's just where you can play Wes. He's certainly better in a more central position and that's where he does most of his good work.

"I've tended to go two up front or with a player off the front-man but I was delighted by the contribution of someone who hasn't played (much) this season."

Meanwhile, Palace manager Tony Pulis was delighted to be back in the Premier League despite the result.

"I was pleased with everybody," said the former Stoke boss. "They have worked really hard and taken everything on board, although there were areas where we need to improve and we have to bring in one or two players."

The poverty of Pulis' forward resources was highlighted by the strike partnership of Cameron Jerome, who criticised him for playing favourites after his departure from Stoke in the summer, and the languid Marouane Chamakh, surely the antithesis of a typical Pulis player.

Irish Independent

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