This weekend, Norwich City will be playing away to #brighton and although Alex Neil may see this one as just another game it certainly provokes memories for fans. This isn’t so much of Brighton but more of their current manager Chris Hughton. It’s telling that this also is relevant in terms of #norwich’s season that has some the team concede a few too many goals – but score plenty.
There is a school of thought that Hughton is not a defensive manager at his core but that’s just the way he played in the Premier League due to the players he had available and the fact that Norwich had been poor defensively prior to that. However, that is the only reference point that fans can really go on.
I think it’s relevant to mention Paul Lambert here too who always played attacking football but also saw his Norwich team concede a few too many. It’s interesting though that I always had more confidence in Lambert’s team of flair than Hughton’s defensive stewards in terms of Premier League survival.
Some of our fans are fearful right now that the poor defensive record will cost the team promotion. However, teams don’t have to be tight at the back to be successful and I come back to Lambert here that was successful in Norfolk despite his team being poor at the back. The reality is that most of the time you will have to choose between a defensive or attacking manager.
Unless huge resources come into play such as at Newcastle it’s unlikely you will be able to have both. Therefore, If you are one of those fans asking for change, keep in mind that may mean a return to defensive football. In my experience, fans don’t enjoy winning 1-0 and keeping clean sheets – because it makes for boring football. Of course, we know that is true from Hughton’s time here that led to change.
If you compare Brighton and Norwich, it’s clear that one team is better defensively and the other team is better as an attacking force. In this case, it is the way around that you would expect given what I have said here. Brighton certainly have better defensive players – but the Canaries have more flair so we are in for an interesting game. Alex Pritchard is one player that thought he was joining Brighton before Norwich swooped and he will be keen to prove he made the right choice.
My view with Alex Neil is he needs time to build something here that may mean we don’t go up this season, but he has some good young players and the future looks bright. I honestly don’t see who we could go for that would be an obvious upgrade. That being said, Norwich will be right back on track for promotion if they win at Brighton so here is hoping for a positive result. #championship