Anthony Pilkington (60 mins)
Barclays Premier League
, Nov 17, 2012
Ground: Carrow Road , Kickoff: 17:30 , Att 26,840
Hughton to focus on Canaries Norwich manager Chris Hughton is not about to drive himself mad worrying about Manchester United's quality, and will instead focus on his own team.
United head to Norfolk on Saturday leading the Barclays Premier League table after a battling 3-2 win at Aston Villa, where they overturned a two-goal deficit. England striker Wayne Rooney is a major doubt because of an ankle injury, but in-form Dutchman Robin van Persie should be fit, while Javier Hernandez is pressing for a place in the starting XI.
Hughton, though, maintains he cannot overly concern himself about what United will bring to the table for the early evening televised encounter and just concentrate on getting the Canaries to reproduce the form which has earned them eight points out of the last 12.
"It is a problem because of the quality Manchester United have got, so you have to make sure that, as a team, you are set up well enough that you are going to be difficult to play against," Hughton said.
"You have to make yourself harder to beat and harder to penetrate, but you also have to have a share of the game because if you sit back for 90 minutes, there is only going to be one outcome.
"But you can't drive yourself mad, there are so many different avenues United have and you have to put more emphasis on your own team.
"It is not a game where you are going in settling to lose. We are going in to get a result. How are we going to get a result? That is what our main emphasis has to be." Norwich will again be without defender Russell Martin (back).
Midfielder Alex Tettey pulled out of the Norway squad for their midweek friendly with Hungary with a minor back problem, but should be available.
On-loan Tottenham striker Harry Kane continues his recovery from a broken metatarsal.
Sir Alex Ferguson insists it has never been easy leaving players out at United.
Whilst Van Persie and Rooney are acknowledged to be automatic choices in Ferguson's first-choice starting XI, compelling evidence has been provided of alternative options over the past seven days.
Hernandez might struggle to get his first United hat-trick but there is little doubt the Mexican's introduction changed the entire course of last week's game at Aston Villa.
Then on Wednesday, Danny Welbeck scored England's equaliser in their 4-2 defeat in Sweden, thus confirming his status as the Three Lions' top scorer during 2012. Yet, to start with all four at Norwich on Saturday is impossible, meaning disappointment for someone is inevitable.
However, even in an era where egos tend to be inflated much more than before, and therefore deflation much more obvious, Ferguson can see no change to the situation he has always had to face. The Scot said: "It is no harder. Teddy Sheringham was never happy being left out. Andy Cole certainly wasn't. He would grump and groan for three days because he wanted to play all the time.
"I have no problem with that. The important thing is do have to feel as though you are being fair and that they are making a contribution over the course of the season.
Norwich vs Man Utd
Last modified 19:43 17/11/12
Bitter Pil for Fergie Norwich continued their revival with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Manchester United at Carrow Road, as Sir Alex Ferguson's men blew the chance to go back top of the Barclays Premier League table.
After Manchester City had thrashed Aston Villa 5-0 earlier this afternoon, only a win would have been enough for United to jump over their neighbours once again.
However, with England striker Wayne Rooney missing because of tonsillitis, the Red Devils produced a lacklustre display as the Canaries - reborn since the international break - produced another composed display to secure a third win in five Premier League games with a fine header from Anthony Pilkington on the hour.
Leading scorer Robin van Persie had recovered from the thigh strain which kept him out of Holland's midweek friendly with Germany, while Javier Hernandez also started for the visitors after his match-winning cameo at Aston Villa last weekend. Anders Lindegaard kicked off in goal for David de Gea, who was troubled by a wisdom tooth.
It was a lively start by United as Van Persie created the first opening inside three minutes, turning to drive in a low shot from the edge of the Norwich penalty area which John Ruddy palmed away low to his right.
Norwich were defending with two banks of four, but also looked to use wingers Robert Snodgrass and Pilkington on the counter.
On six minutes, Wes Hoolahan fed Pilkington down the left following a quick break after a United corner, but the former Huddersfield man lacked support and could only flash a drive wide across goal from 20 yards.
United, though, continued to have all the possession, and enjoy plenty of time on the ball as the home side sat deep.
On 21 minutes, full-back Patrice Evra was inches away from connecting with Ashley Young's left-wing corner after arriving at pace to the far post.
Norwich, though, showed some life in attack when Hoolahan floated a ball over from the left, which Snodgrass diverted just over the angle with a backward header.
A sweeping move switched play from the right out to Pilkington, who then released left-back Javier Garrido, and his low centre flashed across the face of Lindegaard's goal.
Norwich continued to grow in confidence and it needed a brilliant saving tackle from Chris Smalling to prevent captain Grant Holt from tapping in Snodgrass' low cross after the Scotland winger got past Rio Ferdinand into the right side of the United penalty area on 37 minutes.
Veteran Ryan Giggs, who scored a last-minute winner here last season on his 900th appearance, floated in a lovely ball behind the Norwich backline, but Van Persie missed his kick when attempting an acrobatic volley.
Young then drilled in a low effort at the back post from a corner, which Ruddy turned behind from point-blank range.
United opened the second half as they had the first, with Van Persie again losing his footing when played into a promising position inside the Norwich box.
After Snodgrass had been pushed over by Evra out on the right, his deep free-kick flew through the United penalty area before it was eventually hacked clear off the line by Rafael.
Norwich continued to press and finally were rewarded on the hour with a goal of real quality.
Garrido was played in on the overlap down the left by Hoolahan, and his perfectly weighed cross was glanced over Lindegaard into the top corner by Pilkington, who was once a player in the United youth system.
Ferguson had seen enough and within 10 minutes veteran midfielder Paul Scholes, who turned 38 yesterday, and England striker Danny Welbeck were off the bench, replacing Antonio Valencia and the ineffective Hernandez.
United upped the tempo, as Welbeck's looping header was deflected behind for a corner.
It continued to be one-way traffic as the Canaries defended resolutely.
With seven minutes left, Norwich boss Chris Hughton made a double change as Steve Morison and Jonny Howson replaced Holt and Hoolahan.
Ferdinand, meanwhile, came off for Anderson.
With a minute left, Wales forward Morison released Howson clear on goal, but the former Leeds midfielder scuffed his shot wide.
There were four minutes of stoppage time and Ruddy produced a brilliant saved to turn the ball over after it was deflected off Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong.
|Player rating out of ten||Player name||Substitution||Did they score?||Player's disciplinary record||Rating|
|7||Robert Snodgrass(sub 90)|
|14||Wesley Hoolahan(sub 82)|
|9||Grant Holt(sub 82)|
|8||Jonathan Howson(sub 82)|
|16||Steve Morison(sub 82)|
|17||Elliott Bennett(sub 90)|
|Player rating out of ten||Player name||Did they score?||Player's disciplinary record||Substitution||Rating|
|2||Rafael Da Silva|
|5||Rio Ferdinand(sub 82)|
|7||Antonio Valencia(sub 68)|
|20||Robin van Persie|
|14||Javier Hernandez(sub 68)|
|8||Oliveira Anderson(sub 82)|
|19||Danny Welbeck(sub 68)|
|22||Paul Scholes(sub 68)|