Hughton: We’ve turned the corner

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his players will

produce a positive reaction to Monday’s defeat to West Brom.

Rodgers’ side travel to Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League

on Thursday on the back of a frustrating night against the Baggies,

who snatched a surprise 2-0 win at Anfield.

The Reds boss was happy with the effort and commitment against

Albion, and he is confident their performance will improve at

Zenit.

“These players always react very well,” he said. “They were very

disappointed, like we all were, because we wanted to make our home

form better in the league.

“We entered into the game against West Brom with the best

defensive home record in the league, so that shows the mark of

improvement we were making as a group.

“It’s something that left the players disappointed, but they

will react in the right manner. They want to work well and they’re

very good at moving on. That’s something we’ll have to do if we

want to progress.

“We just have to keep striving and look towards the next game.

We’ve got the Europa League game on Thursday night, which is a good

opportunity for us to progress in a competition.”

The Norwich squad jetted out to Abu Dhabi for a short

warm-weather training break following Saturday’s goalless draw with

Fulham.

The point against the Cottagers, in a match which was devoid of

any real spark, extended Norwich’s unbeaten run to three

matches.

While his men have yet to record a league win since beating

Wigan on December 15, Hughton is confident of having steadied the

ship following a dismal run of form when they lost all four matches

over the festive period.

“In terms of results we have turned a corner,” said Hughton,

whose side had been on a remarkable 11-game unbeaten run before

their recent slump.

“We have had some wonderful highs this season and we have had

some lows as well, but that would be expected of a club where we

are.

“We just have to make sure we keep accumulating points and while

we would like the wins there is only one objective and that is to

make sure we are in the Premier League next season.”

Norwich have a six-point cushion over the relegation zone, some

much-needed breathing space which Hughton knows his side will have

to work hard to protect as they prepare to take on Champions League

hopefuls Everton in 10 days’ time.

“For clubs like us, you can’t perform at that level all of the

time and you just hope that when you’re not at your best you can

still pick up results,” he said.

“A few weeks ago we were not doing that when we were not at our

best.

“At this moment, we are still not at our best, but we are not

losing.

“You hope the other results go for us and they haven’t been too

bad, but we have to do it ourselves and we now have two weeks to

work and be refreshed for Everton at home.”

Norwich have scored just once in the last six games, with both

their last two matches ending goalless.

Hughton handed January signings Luciano Becchio and Kei Kamara,

on loan from Major League Soccer side Sporting Kansas City, home

debuts against Fulham.

While neither forward was able to make a breakthrough,

midfielder Robert Snodgrass is confident they can have an

impact.

Scotland international Snodgrass was a team-mate of Becchio’s at

Leeds and said: “You need to get up to the speed of things and

Luciano has not really played many games in the last few weeks, so

I think you will see the best of him in the next three or four

weeks.

“I have seen him score a hat-trick out of absolutely nothing

against Middlesbrough, so I know what he can do.

“You have just got to get the ball in the right areas for him to

score.”

Snodgrass added: “Kamara has shown us what he can do when he

came on for his little cameo.

“He is big and looks strong, he will attack things and I think

that is what we need.

“If we start taking our chances we will be fine.”

Captain Grant Holt was forced to pull out of the squad against

Fulham after suffering a back spasm on the morning of the match,

but is expected to be in contention for the visit of Everton.