Norwich 2 Sunderland 1: Chris Hughton hails ‘fantastic’ Canaries
Norwich 2 Sunderland 1: Chris Hughton heaps praise on the Canaries after extending their unbeaten run despite a testing week
Chris Hughton praised Norwich City for a “fantastic” display after the Canaries extended their unbeaten run to eight games with victory over Sunderland at Carrow Road.
Hughton’s side went ahead in the eighth minute when Sebastien Bassong prodded a shot past Simon Mignolet from close range after a Norwich set-piece created uncertainty in the Sunderland back four.
Anthony Pilkington doubled the Canaries’ lead with a superb solo effort, before Black Cats midfielder Craig Gardner scored a long-range effort to reduce the deficit just before half-time.
Sunderland centre-half Matthew Kilgallon missed the best chance of the second half when he was unable to steer his strike into an empty net after Gardner’s free-kick had left Mark Bunn stranded.
“It’s a third game in a week with the same and I thought we were excellent in the first half,” Hughton told Sky Sports.
“It’s very difficult to sustain that for 90 minutes, particularly with the timing of their goal which gave them a lift and showed the real quality they’ve got in their team.
“We had to dig deep in the second half. But with the same team for the third game this week, I’m really delighted.”
“It always is [frustrating to concede just before half-time]. It gives them that lift which they need.
“It changes the teamtalk slightly and of course, the fact that we played so well in the first half, the question was whether we could sustain it.”
The Norwich manager also reserved special praise for Bunn, who is deputising for the injured John Ruddy, after the second-choice keeper made a string of good saves in the second half to deny Sunderland.
“I thought the save at the end, to hold onto the ball, showed real good quality and good hands.
“But he was part of a good team effort. We protected him as well as offering a threat ourselves.
“I’m delighted for Mark. It’s a tough one for John Ruddy, this gives him and opportunity, and he can’t have done his chances any harm.”