Premier League: Norwich boss Chris Hughton bemoans slow start after Newcastle loss

Chris Hughton: Left to rue a poor first-half display after loss to Newcastle

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Chris Hughton praised his Norwich City side's spirit but was left frustrated by defensive mistakes after a 2-1 defeat by Newcastle United.

The Canaries fell behind after just two minutes when Loic Remy scored after a Yohan Cabaye corner had been allowed to bounce in the six-yard box, and it was 2-0 before half-time courtesy of Yoan Gouffran.

Norwich came back strongly and Leroy Fer's 80th-minute header gave them hope of retrieving a point, but Newcastle held firm.

Hughton was proud of his players for fighting back, although he acknowledged that their efforts probably made the final outcome harder to take.

He told Sky Sports: "It's very difficult. We know how good Newcastle can be at St James' and the last thing you want is to be 1-0 down after the first few minutes.

"We then conceded a second to give us a mountain to climb, but we know we've got quality and spirit in the group and we showed that in the second half.

"The pleasing thing for me is that we made a real go of it and gave ourselves an opportunity, but we gave ourselves too much to do with that first-half performance."

Two early goals cost us – Hughton

Hughton also expressed his disappointment at the goals Norwich conceded, adding: "It is frustrating and we have to make sure that we alleviate that properly."

The loss to Newcastle was the first in a run of four away games in six matches for Norwich, but Hughton only wants to concentrate on the next challenge.

"Every game for us is a tough game," he said. "It can only be about dealing with the next one, and for us that is a home game against Crystal Palace and we have to make sure we pick ourselves up and continue where we finished off in that second-half performance."

Hughton also confirmed that Anthony Pilkington had suffered a hamstring injury after seeing the winger stretched off in the second half, although scans will be required to determine the full extent of the problem.

"He's shot his hamstring. We won't know until tomorrow or the next few days how bad it is, but it is a hamstring strain," said Hughton.