Alex Tettey admits he has to make up lost ground in his Norwich City career
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Tettey has no wish to experience the downside of being a Premier League footballer again this season.
The Norwich City midfielder revealed this week the intensity and relentless nature of English top flight football caught up with him in his debut campaign.
A loss of form and a knee injury contributed to the Norwegian starting only three games over the final three-and-a-half months.
Tettey was back in harness alongside Bradley Johnson at Hull last weekend after a summer to recharge and re-evaluate following some sound advice from Chris Hughton.
'I had a good chat with the gaffer before the final game of last season and we were talking about the injuries and how difficult I found it to come back to the level I was at before,' he said. 'We talked about having a good summer and coming back stronger. For me personally that is what I am looking for – to get to that level I was at last season. I work every day on the training pitch to get my performance much higher than it was at the end of last season.
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'I told the gaffer I was tired, especially last Christmas we played something like a game then two days rest then another game. I had never had that before in my career in France or Norway. Sometimes it doesn't help with your form because you are mentally and physically tired. I don't know if he listened to me or not when I said I was tired because he has brought in a lot of players. I should have kept quiet.'
Tettey's smile as he delivered that pay-off line alluded to a heightened level of competition within Hughton's squad following a productive summer recruitment drive. The 27-year-old speaks from experience when he cautions patience with the latest influx of talent.
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'The manager has brought in really high quality and when they get used to everything they will be even better,' he said. 'You have to remember everyone is different. It takes time to settle in, even if it doesn't look like that to the outside, it does because you have to feel comfortable in the club and with your team mates.
'The biggest thing they will find in English football is that every week it is so competitive. Even this week we played Hull and then in a few days we had a cup game and now Southampton. It is tough, but that is something the Premier League is known for. Every game is a big challenge. Hull proved that.
'Southampton is a good opponent but it is all about us. We know they are a good side but it's about how we impose our game on them.'
Tettey does not envy Hughton's weekly task of sifting through deep reserves of midfield options.
'You have Bradley Johnson, who played 37 games last season, and he is obviously left-footed so he has that place on the team,' he said. 'Leroy (Fer) played really well in midweek. You have Jonny Howson, you have me, I don't know how many midfielders. It is up to the gaffer to mix it up and see which games and which players he needs. As a player you of course are disappointed when you don't start the game, like I was against Everton, but if you get 10 or 15 minutes you have to show you want to be on the team.
'If you look at the squad we have now compared to last season we have two quality players for every position and if you played one or the other in each position it wouldn't make any difference. That means players are being pushed for their place.
'You have to raise your game in training as well as the matches and the ones who played against Bury showed the manager they were ready to play.'
Tettey made his first start of the new season in last weekend's below-par league defeat on Humberside.
'All the lads were down after the game so we need to turn that disappointment into something good this weekend,' he said. 'Those are the games we have to win because if you don't win against Hull then who are you going to win against? If you play United or Chelsea it is not going to be any easier. We had an opening to win at Hull and we didn't.'