Hughton: 'The Lads Just Had Other Ideas'
Reflecting on a great win over Everton, it`s great waking up after 3 points but even better when a win has been wrestled from the jaws of defeat. Two things of note, firstly the impact of Kei Kamara on the whole club and secondly Hughton`s post-match comments about whether he would have settled for a draw.
For whatever reason, Kei Kamara`s arrival has lifted the whole place and has built up high expectations of the man from Sierra Leone. Fortunately he not only looks the part, he seems to be a big threat too - almost scoring on his debut and then a goal and assist in the win yesterday. I wouldn`t be surprised if you looked up the definition of the term 'Different gravy` and it simply said 'Kei Kamara`.
As Hughton said yesterday in the post-match press conference, "He`s full of adrenaline. He`s a little bit different, he`s good in the air and gives us that extra pace to get in behind. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn`t, but he gives us something different."
Hughton went on to say, "I thought long and hard about putting 2 up front today as it`s a little bit of a risk against a team of this quality who are so strong in midfield.
"You have to be honest and say at 1-0 down we`d settle for 1-1 as Everton are a really good side but the lads wanted something different."
Hughton`s quotes remind me of the game vs. Everton in 2004 when Nigel Worthington`s men were totally outclassed by a high-flying Everton team in the first half of our home fixture, before pulling it back to 2-2 thanks largely to an inspired performance from Leon McKenzie. Everton went on to win the game somewhat fortuitously with Duncan Ferguson popping up to get the winner against the run of play.
When asked by a reporter after the game whether Worthington thought that Norwich would go on and win the game having brought it back to 2-2 and having momentum, he replied rather flatly, "No I didn`t, I thought Everton would still nick it." An honest if somewhat disheartening response for the fans and players to hear, that felt odd at the time but said a lot about the man.
Of course the 2004/5 season ultimately ended in glorious failure after a fantastic run towards the end of the season that ended up being too little too late. Part of the reason for this was a lack of investment (until January) in a striker to provide an attacking threat but part of the reason arguably was Worthington`s negative approach to games. His safety first approach that meant he`d look to keep a clean sheet and build from there, often making substitutions far too late.
Nigel Worthington`s lack of ambition in games is echoed somewhat by Chris Hughton`s approach - the acceptance of dull draws, defensive approach, the late substitutions etc. However unlike in 2004, Hughton has been substantially backed by the board and arguably the investment that was made in the summer looks to be very shrewd business by the club.
Of course, Hughton may well be being very clever and actually be attempting to give the players credit for the win in front of the press, downplaying his own role in proceedings by putting it all down to "the lads wanted more". The timing and nature of his subs in particular were much more bullish yesterday, almost as if he knew that we had a chance to turn Everton over. Everton are renowned for giving away leads this year and as studious as Hughton is, this would not have been lost on him.
Whoever you give credit to; to beat yet another team at home who are pushing for the top 4, with a proper old school late double is a fantastic achievement and will go a long way to ensuring we have our mojo back for the remaining games.
Whether it`s the players who deserve credit, the manager or the board, ultimately who cares...
...we`re staying up. Believe.