FORMER PREMIER LEAGUE winner Martin Keown has questioned the timing of struggling Norwich’s sacking of manager Chris Hughton.
Hughton, formerly of Newcastle United and Birmingham City, was released as Norwich boss days out from their relegation six-pointer at Fulham today.
Norwich are five points clear of 18th-placed Fulham with five games to play, but a win from the London club at the weekend would significantly tighten the pressure on interim manager Neil Adams’ men.
Making life worse for Norwich is their final four games – Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal – are all daunting.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Keown did not agree with Norwich’s timing of releasing their coach in the twilight of their relegation battle.
“I was shocked to see Chris Hughton sacked last weekend but only because of the timing. In terms of results, it’s been coming,” Keown wrote.
“Hughton helped establish Norwich in the Premier League last season, finishing a respectable 11th. The club took that as a sign of progress and backed their manager to the tune of £25m in the summer.”
Keown says Norwich’s foresight to their tough finish to the Premier League season has created panic.
“That (run-in) has created a panic and desperation in their play. That desperation has gripped everyone at the club and culminated in Hughton getting sacked,” he wrote.
“Have recent performances suggested they are going to get anything at Craven Cottage? Probably not.
“With the following four games a write-off, the board have gambled and tried to make one last change to secure their survival.
“If it works, it could be an inspired decision but I can’t help feeling it would have been better to keep Hughton on.”