Chris Hughton believes Norwich City acted with haste when decided to dispel of his services at the weekend, a decision he feels they may live to regret.
The former Newcastle United and Birmingham City manager was appointed as Paul Lambert’s successor at Carrow Road in the summer of 2012, and in his debut season in charge, he led them to an 11th place finish. Whilst this is certainly a respectable position, it perhaps masks the fact that they struggled for much of the campaign.
Cash was made available for Hughton ahead of the current season and, identifying a need for more firepower, he spent big on Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper. Yet despite amassing 50 league matches between them they have scored a total of just six goals, of which the £8million Holland international has registered just one.
This has undoubtedly led to the Canaries downfall this term, as only Crystal Palace (23) have scored less than their 26 goals in the entire division. Last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion was their fourth successive loss and their fifth from the last six outings, and this proved to be the final straw in Hughton’s short reign.
The defeat to the Baggies leaves Norwich fourth from bottom, and although they have a five-point cushion, they travel to third-bottom Fulham this weekend in a match which could either see them slip further in the mire of virtually secure their safety. Had they stuck with Hughton, he feels the outcome would most certainly have been the latter.
“I understand the frustrations, but I remained totally confident that we were on course to create history by retaining our top-flight status and move into a fourth consecutive season in the Premier League,” he said in a statement issued by the League Managers Association. “We were ready for the challenge that the final five games presented and we believed we would reward the club and the supporters by achieving that objective.”
Youth team coach Neil Adams has been appointed as Hughton’s successor, and he knows a win at Craven Cottage will pretty much ensure he has a fairly comfortable end of the season. A defeat, on the other hand, could see the Canaries spiral out of the top-flight, with a run-in consisting of matches against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.