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Hughton: Everton set benchmark

Norwich boss Chris Hughton is relishing facing Everton, the team he says are the benchmark for most of the Premier League.

Last Updated: 23/11/12 at 14:00 Post Comment   

Chris Hughton: Takes Norwich to Goodison on Saturday

Chris Hughton: Takes Norwich to Goodison on Saturday

Chris Hughton is relishing the chance to pit Norwich against an Everton team he says are the benchmark for the majority of the Premier League.

The Norwich manager takes his side to Goodison Park on Saturday on the back of an impressive 1-0 win against Manchester United at Carrow Road last weekend.

Hughton admits he takes inspiration from the fact that Everton manager David Moyes, on a tight budget, has been so consistent in his Premier League challenge over the past decade.

Everton currently lie fifth in the league on 20 points, six points ahead of Norwich in 13th place.

Hughton said: "Everton have managed to sustain real challenging positions in this league for a number of years.

"It is a club run very well. They have a great record of bringing players through. They have also added real quality players to their squad. They have a great work ethic and a manager who gives them stability.

"I know David quite well. We all know they haven't had the type of budgets that your Uniteds and Citys and Chelseas and Arsenals have had and that makes it tough for him, but to be consistently where they are in the Premier League speaks volumes for them as a club and for David as a manager.

"They are a real threat going forward, particularly at home. They have a lot of players in the team capable of creating and scoring goals and we will have to be at our best."

Norwich's resurgence has come courtesy of a defence which has not conceded a goal in their last three matches, following their 5-0 defeat at Fulham on the opening day of the season and shipping five goals to Liverpool and four to Chelsea.

They currently stand one point better off than at the same stage last year.

Hughton said: "We have had three bad days this season, but I have generally been pleased with the endeavour and work rate. We have got good competition for places.

"But there's only one stat that really counts and that is where we are come the end of the season."

Hughton is hopeful England goalkeeper John Ruddy will have recovered from a knee injury picked up against United in time to face his former club. There is also a chance full-back Russell Martin will return after recovering from a back injury.

And Hughton wants to cash in on a mood which understandably is buoyant.

Winger Robert Snodgrass puts the improvement down to old-fashioned sweat and the fact that new players are bedding into Hughton's system.

"It's the work ethic," said Snodgrass. "We're getting used to each other, gelling together, defending in the right areas, putting our bodies on the line to help team-mates. That's the most important thing: look your team-mate in the eye and know he's going to be right there by your side.

"The performances have showed that."

Snodgrass also takes heart from the fourth position currently occupied by West Brom, another unfashionable Premier League side.

"We see West Brom and the way they have started this year and we think, 'why can't that be us?'

"If we put a run together we can go up that table. We have the players to do it.

"We have the belief that we can go and win every game. It was a great result against United but we won't get complacent.

"Everton are a good bit above us in the league and we are down there because of our results at the start of the season, but we're on a nice run now and we have players in the team who can damage teams.

"We are a consistent side and if you don't have belief you can get a result anywhere there's no point in being a footballer."


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