Norwich City’s squad left in no doubt what is required
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Norwich City’s Championship preparations are about to get serious on the club’s German tour - by order of the management.
The Canaries trained for the first time on Saturday at their Hotel Klosterpforte base ahead of an opening tour game on Sunday lunchtime against Bundesliga 2 new boys SC Paderborn, before match-ups in coming days with Union Berlin and VfL Wolfsburg.
Nelson Oliveira was a notable absentee from the travelling party, with Alex Tettey also not involved, but it is the players at Daniel Farke’s disposal who matter most in the coming days.
City’s new-look squad eased past lower league opponents in the early pre-season friendlies, but the head coach admits the next week will be crucial in the planning for the Championship opener at Birmingham.
“To be together 24 hours a day is important, from the point of getting the squad to gel,” he said. “They need to create relationships and that togetherness. We have brilliant conditions at our base and some good games.
“This is a crucial phase. I work a lot on the character when we are signing players.
“We meet the lads not just to discuss their football ability but to get a feeling for how they are as characters and their personality. We feel we have made some good signings on those terms.
“But there has to be competition in the squad as well.
“It allows us to be a bit more focused on tactical work and be flexible in the information we pass on. The first weeks are about the physical topics. Now we must go into the tactical movements.
“It is less about the body and more about the head and an important period of the season.”
Ivo Pinto and Grant Hanley did travel but the duo are unlikely to feature against SC Paderborn following hamstring problems.
“We will see if we can involve Grant in the games but first he has to do some individual stuff in training,” said Farke. “The games will be tough, especially when you consider there are three games in five days.
“I know what we are expecting. Paderborn were in the Bundesliga three years ago and have just come up into Bundesliga 2.
“Union Berlin is always a favourite for promotion to the Bundesliga and Wolfsburg, five years ago, were German champions. Really, really tough. We are looking forward to it. What is important is the performances improve as we go.”