Chris Hughton continues to target 40 points with Norwich
Hughton saw the Canaries inch to 34 with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Sunderland
Monday 18 March 2013
Norwich boss Chris Hughton will not allow his players to relax until they have collected 40 Barclays Premier League points.
Hughton saw the Canaries inch to 34 with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Sunderland despite playing for over an hour at the Stadium of Light with just 10 men after goalkeeper Mark Bunn was sent off for handling outside his box.
But asked if they were now just about safe, he replied: "No. We have continually said the 40-point mark.
"I know there are others who have said they feel it will be less than that, but if you start talking less than that, there are too many teams around us and too many teams below us who are capable of winning games.
"You have only got to look at Southampton winning yesterday and Villa winning yesterday - all of these teams are capable of winning games.
"If we continue to look around that 40-mark, I think that's a fair assessment."
The Canaries arguably had to work as hard for their point on Wearside as they have for any other this season after taking a 1-0 lead through Wes Hoolahan's 26th-minute header before things started to fall apart for them.
Bunn saw red just three minutes later after he raced from his penalty area to confront Danny Graham and referee Chris Foy ruled that he had used his arm.
However, it was a second close call which gave Sunderland the opportunity to level five minutes before the break.
Defender Sebastien Bassong attempted to control John O'Shea's through-ball on his chest, but saw it roll down his arm and after consulting with his assistant, Mr Foy pointed to the spot.
Craig Gardner duly obliged from 12 yards, but despite laying siege to the Norwich goal throughout the second half, replacement goalkeeper Lee Camp was largely untroubled.
Indeed, Hughton and his players left the north-east believing they had been denied a penalty of their own when defender Danny Rose blocked Russell Martin's cross with his arm. Television replays suggested the on-loan Tottenham defender was just inside the area but Mr Foy instead gave a free-kick on the edge.
Hughton said: "It's not been a good day for us as regards decisions, but it's been a good day for as regards the resilience a team can show and quality it can show when they are up against it."
Opposite number Martin O'Neill was a frustrated man as he assessed a draw which extended his side's run without a league victory to seven games.
He said: "I have to say that for one reason or another - obviously going on a run at this moment like the one we are on - confidence is a wee bit low, even from the very creative players.
"I think we were inhibited. The second-half performance was very, very disappointing.
"With the extra man, we should have tried to make it count and it was frustrating for the number of chances that we didn't create. That was very disappointing."
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