Alex Tettey goes into Norway’s Euro 2016 play-off in high spirits after captaining Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Tettey will lead the way for Norwich City's Euro 2016 play-off contingent tonight when he takes on Hungary with his Norway team-mates.
The 29-year-old midfielder very nearly helped his nation to automatic qualification last month when he scored in a 2-0 win over Malta and then fired his side ahead against Italy.
The Italians struck twice in the last 17 minutes to deny Norway qualification in Rome though and now the Scandinavians must beat Hungary in the play-offs if they are to compete at Euro 2016 in France next summer.
Tettey feels Hungary, who finished third in Group F behind Northern Ireland and Romania, will prove tricky opponents though.
'I feel we have a chance but they are not far from us,' the Canaries' star said. 'So we will just have to play a good game at home on Thursday.'
The second leg will be played in Budapest on Sunday, with Norway attempting to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since 2000.
'It's very important to play for Norway and in important games like that,' said Tettey, now on 28 caps for his adopted country.
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'The people are expecting us to qualify and we have to deliver, so there is pressure there as well. That's what I'm working for.'
The former Rosenberg midfielder also led the way on Saturday, when he captained City to their vital 1-0 win over Swansea.
With skipper Russell Martin serving a one-game ban, it was Tettey who manager Alex Neil handed the armband to – but at late notice.
'It was nice. I thought that Jonny (Howson) or Gary O'Neil was going to be but the manager surprised me and I'm happy to be the captain. We won, kept a clean sheet and got a very important three points,' the Ghana-born battler continued.
'He told me when we were about to have the captain's meeting, so I'm very pleased.'
That meant it was also Tettey leading the pre-match huddle at Carrow Road, as the Canaries players looked to end a four-match losing streak in the Premier League.
'I was a little bit nervous about the game so I just told them that we would be very embarrassed not to take a point for a fifth game in a row,' he added.
'I told them that can't happen, so just go out there and fight hard for the team and everybody did their job.'
Tomorrow night it is the turn of City players Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan to take the spotlight with the Republic of Ireland, in the first leg of their play-off, in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Martin Olsson and his Sweden team-mates then host Denmark in the first leg of their play-off on Saturday night.