I want to spoil opening day for my good friend Martin, admits Hughton
17:17 GMT, 17 August 2012
Norwich manager Chris Hughton admits he owes a debt of gratitude to Fulham boss Martin Jol, but will go all out to beat his good friend at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Hughton worked alongside Jol during his spell in charge at Tottenham from 2004 to 2007, before then stepping up into managerial roles with Newcastle and Birmingham before Norwich came calling earlier this summer after Paul Lambert left for Aston Villa.
The 53-year-old has nothing but respect for Jol, who had spells at Hamburg and Ajax before coming back to the Premier League with Fulham in June 2011 after Mark Hughes' departure, guiding the west London club to ninth place.
However, that admiration will not stop Hughton aiming to get the Canaries off to a flying start and a first victory for his new club.
Making their day: Chris Hughton signs autographs during training
'I had three enjoyable years with Martin at Tottenham, working closely with him,' said Hughton. 'He was very successful, having two fifth-place finishes.
'I have also learned a lot from him, so he has played a very good part in where I am in this moment.
'You pick up about what it is to be a good manager. Martin is on the training pitch every day, tactically he is very good.
'He is great with the players, has high demands off them and wants to play the game in an attractive manner.
'Martin is a winner and has been successful wherever he has been.'
Looking forward: Martin Jol at a pre-season friendly between his Fuilham side and Wycombe
Hughton, though, will put that relationship to one side when kick off at the Cottage comes around.
'There are almost two sides to it, because I am a really good friend of his, but also a rival manager,' he added.
'When it came out we were playing Fulham on the first day, of course it is something you have a laugh and a quick joke about.
'But just because he is a good friend of mine does not make any difference – we will want to win and do well in the game against them as much as we will in any other game.'
With Lambert's departure, Norwich – who finished 12th last season following their promotion – have found themselves the pundits' favourites for the drop.
Hughton, though, will pay little attention to the doom mongers, having yesterday added former Manchester City left-back Javier Garrido to the club on a season-long loan from Lazio to supplement the summer arrivals of Steven Whittaker, Jacob Butterfield, Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner into the Norfolk club.
'It is hard to avoid stuff, but everybody has their opinions. Maybe last season, everybody thought Norwich would struggle and that was not the case,' said Hughton.
Eye for goal: Orlando Sa scores for Fulham against Norwich last season
'If you end up taking everything on board which you read and you see, then you would be permanently depressed.
'The overriding thing is you have to want to accept what the challenge is, and hopefully come through it.'
Hughton added: 'If we have had a good season, then that will be the answer to all the questions.
'All you can do is what you think is right – for us, that is about improving the quality we have within the squad, and preparing ourselves right for every game, keeping everybody level-headed – that means making sure you do not get too carried away with a good result and perhaps even more importantly you do not get too down with a bad result, because there are going to be some.
'The players will go into the season knowing how tough it is going to be, but you hope you can put things together to get enough good results.'