Chris Hughton hopes that Johan Elmander and Martin Olsson are in a better mind state for the upcoming game. Both on loan the swedes were part of the game the ended in the Swedish national team losing 4-2 and missing out on a spot in the World Cup.
Chris Hughton said: “They will feel comfortable and it is back down to business for them. I think they should realise they gave it a really good go because Portugal, on their day, are one of their best and with Ronaldo, on his day, they have someone who is arguably the very best. They should be proud they ran them so close but of course it is a big dissapointment to get that close and not make it.”
“They are footballers, they will be used to picking themselves up after a defeat and trying to find that enthusiasm again. It is part and parcel of the game.
Unfortunately for Norwich their opponents Newcastle got the lucky side of the World Cup qualifications with a few in the France side who qualified after beating Ukraine.
“Now it is back to the day job and the club that pay your wages. The internationals are over for a good period. I imagine there is quite a nice feel from that around those particular players but whether they did well or not it is about divorcing yourself from that now.”
“For me the most important thing was my players all came back with no problems. Some played more minutes than others, so it is natural some might be more tired, but all injury-free. I have to see the minutes they played and assess it from there but generally even the ones who played two games, like Johan, would want to be involved.”
Luckily for Hughton, Stephen Whittaker & Wes Hoolahan’s involvement with their countries have been limited.
“Certainly in Wes & Steven it was good to see. It can work against you as a club manager when perhaps the lads who don’t want to play end up being used in both games. Wes got close to 75 minutes in the first Ireland game and went on for 15 in the second game. That will have been important to him because he didn’t have many starts with the previous manager.”
“Steven was involved in both of Scotland’s game and neither have had the minutes here they would like. If they go away and do well for their countries of course that sends a little message to the manager, but that is no different to them doing well here in training. Everybody wants to play and it is my decision how I set my team out. It is not always going to suit everybody but what has been shown so many times in the past is there might be a period when a player is not featuring and then it changes, whether that might be due to a change of strategy or injury.”
By Billy Foster