Football - Hughton looks for cup boost

Manager Chris Hughton is confident of an upturn in fortunes at Norwich ahead of the daunting task of taking on Manchester United and Manchester City in successive matches this week.

PA Sport Report

Norwich flew to Manchester on Monday afternoon ahead of Tuesday's Capital One Cup fourth-round tie with United, but the Canaries are far from flying in the Barclays Premier League, where they next meet City on Saturday, having lost five of their opening nine matches to sit third from bottom.

Sunderland and Crystal Palace, the two clubs beneath Norwich in the standings have changed manager already this term, but Hughton is relaxed about his future and certain Norwich's performances will soon be rewarded by points.

Hughton, whose side were dominant in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Cardiff, has not sought assurances from the Canaries hierarchy and believes any speculation over his position is a symptom of the modern game.

"Our concerns are always about making sure we get results," Hughton said.

"For us it's not a comfortable position being in the bottom three. It's not a position we want to be in.

"It's very early days. You have to accept any criticisms and frustrations, but our performances will show that we are endeavouring to play the best football that we can, to try to play winning football.

"It's about trying to turn our recent good performances into winning performances.

"On Saturday, with the performance, it didn't go for us, even with the dominance that we had of the game.

"Sometimes it's that little bit of luck. Perhaps we're not getting so much of the rub of the green at the moment, but you have to have belief in what you're doing.

"It might be an own goal, it might be a scrappy goal, it might be a deflection that changes that."

Hughton does not agree that the League Cup is an unnecessary distraction for a side battling at the wrong end of the Premier League table and would rather be involved than watching on.

Manchester United boss David Moyes may also be looking for a cup fillip after making an inauspicious start to his tenure as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor.

Hughton believes United's slow start is a result of the strength of the Premier League, rather than a reflection of the ability of the side or Moyes.

Hughton said: "What matters is how the season progresses and where you finish at the end of the season.

"And I've no doubts that Manchester United will be right up there.

"I've no doubts (Moyes) will do an extremely good job there. When he was given the job I felt he was the right man for the job. He's somebody that I have a lot of respect for."

Norwich beat United at Carrow Road last November, but lost 4-0 at Old Trafford in March.

Hughton expects Moyes to field a strong team in an effort to improve his side's fortunes and is hoping a good performance can do the same for Norwich.

Hughton said: "We know our main priority is the league, but one game leads into another.

"For us to get a win at Old Trafford would be a big ask and a big achievement. Any result that we get there will give us a real lift.

"Winning games becomes a habit and at this moment we would settle for any type of win."

Midfielder Alex Tettey (ankle) and striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel (toe) are doubts, while goalkeeper Mark Bunn (wrist) could start.

"There will be some changes, but I want to put out a team that can go to a very difficult place and try to get a result," Hughton said.

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