Thursday 14 December 2017

Snodgrass hails Hughton for inspiring Canaries' rally

Norwich City 3 West Ham United 1

Jon West

Chris Hughton is no Jose Mourinho – and that is as much a compliment as it is a criticism.

At 6.15pm on Saturday, Hughton was 45 minutes from the sack and knew it.

His Norwich City team, rejigged following a seven-goal eclipse at Manchester City, had been outclassed in the late kick-off game, this time by opponents without a single recognised forward.

The fluidity of movement of West Ham United's midfield six had mesmerised his confidence-sapped players, who fell behind to Ravel Morrison's tap-in.

Carrow Road was in foment and the players left the pitch at half-time with catcalls ringing in their ears.

Yet where Mourinho might have given his players a tongue-lashing and Alex Ferguson thrown a teacup or two, Hughton reminded his own men how good he thought they were. And then let them perform their own negative self-analysis.

Robert Snodgrass revealed: "The manager said: 'Relax, calm down, get hold of the ball and try to pass it. You haven't played the way you can play. You are good players. Show it.' He calmed the situation and the players had a think about things."

Hughton's words worked because in the second half goals from Gary Hooper, Snodgrass and Leroy Fer lifted Norwich out of the relegation places and above the Hammers.


West Ham had started the game strongly, with Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy having to make a save with his legs to prevent Kevin Nolan opening the scoring. Guy Demel's header from the corner that followed bounced off the bar.

Ruddy had to stretch to deny Nolan again, this time from Razvan Rat's cross, but a goal was coming. Again Rat and Nolan were involved, although the latter was probably offside when Bennett blocked his initial effort, with the ball sitting up kindly for the captain to set up Morrison for a tap-in.

Hughton sent on Anthony Pilkington for Nathan Redmond but Norwich were still being over-run in their own territory, with forward Hooper dropping deep to help. But West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen presented Norwich with a lifeline.

The veteran dropped a cross under Hooper's challenge and brought the forward down trying to retrieve. The striker thumped home the penalty to record his first Premier League goal for Norwich.

Jonny Howson then unleashed a 25-yarder that smacked the crossbar, with Collins fouling Snodgrass from the rebound.

The Scot's response was to curl the free-kick over the wall and past the static Jaaskelainen. Fer skipped past James Tomkins to make it 3-1 in stoppage time. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport