Pulis: Hughton will keep Norwich up

Stoke boss Tony Pulis is backing Norwich to preserve their Barclays Premier League status under Chris Hughton this season.

Football News: Chris Hughton

Following his appointment over the summer as successor to Paul Lambert - who defected to Aston Villa after guiding the Canaries to two successive promotions and then a 12th-placed top-flight finish - Hughton endured a difficult start to life as manager at Carrow Road, with the team failing to win any of their opening seven league games this term.

The east Anglian outfit were being widely tipped for relegation, but there have been encouraging signs in recent weeks, particularly at home, where they have beaten Arsenal 1-0 in the league and on Wednesday defeated Tottenham 2-1 in the Capital One Cup with a much-changed side.

Pulis, whose team play at Carrow Road in the league tomorrow [Saturday], was at the Spurs match and is predicting that with the squad Hughton has at his disposal, Norwich will avoid the drop.

"I went to watch the game and Chris made a lot of changes. They are well set up," Pulis said.

"Looking at the strength of what he played on Wednesday, I think they will be fine."

Pulis feels former Newcastle and Birmingham manager Hughton and his assistant Colin Calderwood and first-team coach Paul Trollope make for a good team, although the Potters boss believes they have been fortunate with what they have inherited at Norwich from Lambert.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's clash, Pulis said: "It will be a tough game - they are full confidence and they have had some good results.

"They have got players who can hurt you.

"I think Chris has done a good job wherever he has been and Colin and Paul are very good assistants for him - they have both managed and understand what management is about.

"It is a good football club, always has been, and they have been very fortunate in some respects to take over a football club that was well-run before they got there as well.

"As managers - and Chris will be the first one to point this out - nine times out of 10 you are taking jobs because the club has not been successful.

"They actually took over a job where the club had been very successful. Paul had left that football club in a good state."

Pulis' men are currently 13th in the table on nine points - three positions and two points better off than Norwich - after nine fixtures, in which they have registered six draws.

One of those came against Liverpool, whose captain Steven Gerrard this week insisted he did not mean any disrespect towards Stoke when he compared Everton's playing style to that of the Potters after last weekend's Merseyside derby.

The Staffordshire side are frequently derided as a long-ball team, and Gerrard said his words had gone "too far".

But when asked about the comments, Pulis said he viewed them as a compliment.

"I know Steven has apologised for what he's said, but I actually took it as a compliment that Everton play like Stoke," Pulis said.

"I think Everton have done fantastic this season and are a good side.

"I've got a great respect for Gerrard. I think he's a fantastic player and a great advert for English football. It's good that people have different opinions.

"I don't take the criticism to heart - if it even was criticism. People know me by now."



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