'Not to have games like at Villa, QPR and Wednesday' - The summer reflections driving City defender
Norwich City defender Christoph Zimmermann is hoping his summer of reflection is keeping any second season syndrome at bay.
The 25-year-old centre-back was the true surprise package of last season, switching the fourth tier of German football for a season of Championship rigours – as a free transfer and almost certainly on the basis of being head coach Daniel Farke’s captain at his previous club, Borussia Dortmund II.
And while there were ups and downs last term, the overall trend was hugely positive – with the signs this season that Zimmermann is achieving again what he set out for himself before pre-season.
“In the summer I was looking back on my first season and figured out what I did well and what I didn’t,” said Zimmermann.
“I just hope to be performing on a good level and to avoid the mistakes I made in the first season – from things I didn’t know or players I didn’t know how to play against – and just to be more consistent; to not have games like at Aston Villa, QPR and Sheffield Wednesday. Trying to avoid that.
“That’s what I want to do this season, to be more consistent.”
Zimmermann had to be patient for his chance this season, making the most of Grant Hanley’s thigh injury during the opening international break of the campaign.
He added: “I think we do have immense quality this season and our bond is very good in the group. No one sitting on the bench who isn’t in the squad is complaining and we all have the same aim; the same big picture.
“We know everyone is important. You’ve seen that throughout the recent weeks because without the big squad, we wouldn’t have been successful with seven games in three weeks and especially if you see how many changes we make in the League Cup, and we’re doing really well in that too.
“That proves our level of quality is not just very good from player one to 11, but up to player 25.”
Despite City’s excellent September, they still had to deal with defeat on the eve of the current international break – and the lingering memory of how last season’s promising September evaporated as the temperature dropped.
“The best way to avoid that is to win again, as quickly as possible,” smiled Zimmermann. “It sounds simple but there’s nothing like a win, like in January when we were on a good run and then had a defeat at home to Sheffield United. The key was to then win at Brentford and again at home to Middlesbrough.
“It sounds easy but that’s what we need to do now, win the next game as quickly as possible and then start the next unbeaten run and get as many points as possible.
“I think even at the beginning of the season, our football was OK but we didn’t get the results because more or less, with the first opponent’s shot we conceded a goal.
“Luckily in the last period we’ve been a bit more consistent, also in terms of results. So I think we are in a good way and heading in the right direction. Stoke was disappointing but we should still take confidence from how we played and look forward to the next tasks.”
City head to in-form Nottingham Forest on Saturday, before welcoming new Aston Villa boss Dean Smith and his side to Carrow Road three days later.
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…