Norwich City boss Chris Hughton happy with defence after beating Crystal Palace 1-0
Norwich manager Chris Hughton was delighted by the resilience of his side in their 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
By Ben Hampshire - Follow me: @BH92
Last Updated: 01/12/13 7:54am
Gary Hooper struck on the half-hour mark as Norwich took the lead from a wonderfully created team goal, instigated by full-back Russell Martin and winger Nathan Redmond.
The attack-minded duo exchanged passes on the right wing before Redmond cut inside to find Johan Elmander, who swiftly passed the ball into the box for Wesley Hoolahan.
Hoolahan selflessly squared the ball to Hooper, who found himself with time and space to control and find the bottom right-hand corner of the Palace goal.
Norwich started in the ascendancy and Hughton acknowledged the goal came at a key point in the game.
"It was an important time of the game," he told Sky Sports. "It was a part of the game where I thought we were playing very well.
"We struggled to have that sort of dominance we had in the first half going into the second because of the quality and strength Palace have got.
"It was a good time for us to score, sometimes in these games when you're playing well you need a little bit more than that because you know they're going to come back at you."
The winning goal was Hooper's first in open play in the Premier League for Norwich since joining from Celtic but Hughton admits he was impressed more by the striker's all-round display.
"He's a quiet lad but he is a confident lad," he added. "He is strong in possession and it is our responsibility to make sure he scores goals and give him opportunities.
"I was probably more pleased with his overall performance; he produced a really strong performance and battled his cause well."
Palace, under the leadership of Tony Pulis for the first time, returned after the break rejuvenated and put the Norwich defence under sustained periods of pressure.
However, Norwich survived virtue of some stoic defending and Hughton hailed the performance of his back four.
"I was delighted with the resilience we showed in the second half," he said.
"We had some good opportunities on the counter but, as important as the win is, it is important that we kept a clean sheet.
"I thought we defended very well. Martin Olsson did very well in the first half and in the second half we had to match their set-pieces."
After a run which saw the Canaries register just one win in their last six outings and lose 2-1 to Newcastle last time out, Hughton believes victory could not have come at a better time.
"We are on the back of a disappointing result at Newcastle, we needed to get back some good home form and I think Crystal Palace are a side that will cause teams a problem this season," the former Magpies boss added.
"Our first-half performance was very good but it is always difficult to sustain that for 90 minutes.
"I thought we were worthy winners. It gives us a nice feel going into a very tough game at Liverpool on Wednesday."