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HUGHTON'S NOTES

Posted on 22 August 2006  - 12:00

Chris Hughton takes a look back at the opening day defeat to Bolton and ahead to tonight's encounter with Sheffield United at the Lane...

Chris Hughton takes a look back at the opening day defeat to Bolton and ahead to tonight's encounter with Sheffield United at the Lane...

IT WAS NOT the start we wanted on Saturday. When you haven't got into your stride in a game, what you ideally need is not to have conceded any goals - then it gives you a chance to build. Probably by the time we were getting into our game we were 2-0 down and that deficit away to Bolton is a very steep hill to climb.

In all honesty we didn't do well enough on the day. It is a harsh reality, the Premiership is tough and the Reebok Stadium a difficult place to get a result. We needed to perform better as a team.

A lot of teams will suffer the same fate there, but we didn't want to be one of them.

I think we can expect more of the same from Sheffield United in terms of team shape, with them perhaps dropping the wide players a little bit deeper to make it a five in midfield when they need to.

One thing about United - certainly during Neil Warnock's time - is that they are an offensive team and they always have a lot of forward players in the squad. At one stage last season I think they had six or seven strikers in their group.

They do not have the height in the side possessed by Bolton, but they are a team who play with a lot of energy and have good pace in the forward areas provided by Ifill and Webber. What they have managed to do with Armstrong - who can play wide - and Tonge - who spent a few seasons playing on the left of a 4-4-2 - is accomodate them into a tight three-man midfield with Jagielka holding. Jagielka is a fabulous player, a real all-rounder and one a team and a manager would value very much.

It was a very good start for Sheffield United against Liverpool, they might feel they should have won, but against quality side I think it was a good result and they will be happy they didn't lose.

I would imagine it sees them come into the game against us in a confident mood. We need to win, we want to apply pressure to ourselves and a positive from last season is that we were able to bounce back from defeats. That is something we want to continue doing this season, just without too many defeats.

With two home games coming up we are certainly aiming for maximum points.