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‘Maybe we were a bit focused on him’ – Vrancic on Norwich City’s surprise summer upside

Mario Vrancic and his Norwich City players are in it together this season - despite the summer sale of last season's talismanic James Maddison. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Mario Vrancic and his Norwich City players are in it together this season - despite the summer sale of last season's talismanic James Maddison. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Mario Vrancic feels Norwich City are sharing the burden left by James Maddison’s record sale – and it’s so far so good.

Teemu Pukki’s five goals in nine appearances since his summer arrival have certainly eased the loss of goals from top scorer Maddison, who joined Premier League Leicester for a deal worth up to £24m.

But it never stopped at just goals with the England Under-21 international, which was one of the big questions posed by this season to Daniel Farke’s squad – and one they have so far answered well.

“I think last season, maybe we were a little bit focused on James Maddison, who was an unbelievable player – our focus was on his moves and the things he could do with the ball,” said Vrancic.

“Now it’s kind of, everyone feels they need to make a contribution to the game, make runs in behind and is creating something. And that is exactly what we need.

“We analysed the last season and obviously we hadn’t scored enough goals to win games, and that’s what we have done so far. We’ve scored in almost every game so far, apart from Leeds.

MORE: Player Watch – Todd Cantwell’s full league debut in Norwich City’s win at Reading

“It’s all about a great team performance. Everyone has to take some responsibility to try to score and try to defend, as a team. That’s how we have created our chances to win games.”

There’s no denying City’s youthful injection has also added to the mix with Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and now Todd Cantwell all under the age of 21 and making significant contributions to the Canaries’ improving Championship form.

Mario Vrancic wheels away to celebrate scoring what proved to be Norwich City's winner at Reading. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesMario Vrancic wheels away to celebrate scoring what proved to be Norwich City's winner at Reading. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

“The older, experienced guys – whatever you call us – we’re trying to help these guys,” added Vrancic, a relative veteran at the age of 29.

“Also Max, Jamal, they are 18 and 20 years old, and they are making a big contribution to our game. They’re bringing something special maybe into it. That’s what we need, and what they need to carry on.”

Norwich have won five and lost two of their last eight fixtures in all competitions, with Wednesday’s 2-1 win at struggling Reading their first away Championship victory since the end of January.

Having ended Middlesbrough’s unbeaten start at Carrow Road on Saturday, City also claimed consecutive league wins for the first time since the start of February.

A trip to Queens Park Rangers, unbeaten in their last five games, awaits in Saturday’s late kick-off.

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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