Hughton determined to right the wrongs of career low

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Paul Ellis/Getty ImagesIt was a long day at the office for Chris Hughton and Norwich City in their 7-0 defeat at Manchester City.

Chris Hughton's body language betrayed no hint of distress, but the Norwich City boss will know the dark clouds are gathering after a 7-0 Premier League mauling at Manchester City.

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The Canaries were dismissively brushed aside by their rampant hosts at the Etihad, who could scarcely comprehend how malleable the visitors proved once Sergio Aguero's strike had ballooned up off Bradley Johnson in a bizarre opening riposte.

Manuel Pellegrini's collective of wonderfully gifted attacking footballers smelt fear and dismantled the visitors with surgical precision. John Ruddy could only parry David Silva's angled strike. Matija Nastasic's deflected header brushed Russell Martin to deceive Leroy Fer and Ruddy before Alvaro Negredo slammed home -- albeit Augero appeared to be offside in the build-up. Yaya Toure's sharp free-kick on the hour mark piled on fresh misery before Aguero pounced and Edin Dzeko rubbed salt in the wound in the closing minutes.

Hughton led his players to the away support in a masochistic show of defiance at the final whistle. Many of those making the long cross-country trek had been in attendance at Old Trafford just a few days previous to watch a similarly abject exit in the Capital One Cup.

Hughton's features were taut for most of this torturous afternoon, as he prowled the away technical area. He described this defeat as his worst as a manager. The experienced Hughton is a fiercely proud man; a decent, honest individual in a game that is now populated by shadowy figures of dubious character attracted by the vast financial sums bestowed at the top of the English pyramid.

Few would want to see Hughton depart his post at Carrow Road beyond the constituency of Canaries' fans who have decided only a change at the helm can arrest this recent decline. With each fresh, embarrassing setback, their number grows exponentially. Even those who actively will Hughton to succeed would concede the Norwich manager's career prospects are now the subject of intense scrutiny.

Norwich host West Ham next at Carrow Road ahead of an international shutdown which could provide blessed relief, or signal the end. Much will hinge on the Canaries' ability to recover from a mauling of such epic scale that it must leave mental scars on the collective psyche of a tight-knit dressing room. The Hammers and their wily manager Sam Allardyce would not fit the profile of compliant opponents.

Hughton has no choice now. City's lack of progress in the Premier League following a club record summer transfer outlay has backed him into a corner. The only way out are wins to propel the Canaries away from the lowest reaches that such spending was designed to alleviate.


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