'Stop dreaming and be realistic' - It's elbows out for City's festive scraps
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
It's time dreaming made way for realism at Norwich City - for Christoph Zimmermann, that is the only option now available.
The Canaries made the worst possible start to their run of four crunch festive fixtures, with Friday night’s home defeat to Brentford.
A pair of trips to clubs deep in relegation mire round off the year – starting with a Boxing Day in Birmingham before Saturday’s trek to Burton – and any hope supporters had for a promotion push have been replaced by concerned looks over their shoulder.
“There has been a time when we were in the play-offs, but that is in the past – more than two months ago,” said Zimmermann.
“So now we have to accept where we are in the table and focus on the situation, stop dreaming about something and be realistic, do what it takes to improve our situation.”
It is going to take characteristics that have felt in short supply at times this season for Daniel Farke’s squad.
“I think everybody knows if you’re playing against teams in this region of the table, that it’s going to be hard, a difficult struggle. They will fight for everything because for them, the situation is a bit more serious than for us right now,” added Zimmermann.
“But we have to do all that it takes to keep our distance to them. Maybe a draw for that is OK, but it’s not what we’re there for. We’ll go to take three points from both of those games.
“We have shown this season we are capable of winning games away from home and we need to get back to that. But still we have to play it as a normal game, because on Friday we might have been a bit too nervous – especially in the first half.
“I think we have what we need. Even in games we might have lost, we have shown that we are capable of doing what it takes to play in these games.
“We have to know in our situation that hard work comes first. Right now with where we are, no one expects us to play the best football and win every game 5-0. First of all it’s about being compact, disciplined against the ball and then getting the most we can out of those games.
“But the hard work will come first in the next weeks. We did try to work on Friday, but we couldn’t bring all we wanted out on the pitch.”
With questions raised on Thursday over the training schedule at Colney and whether all of Farke’s squad had bought into his methods since the head coach arrived in the summer, Friday’s acrimonious defeat was the last thing City needed.
Zimmermann added: “There is no doubt about the team spirit and the togetherness that we have. Of course, it is always a challenge when times are hard and things don’t go the way you hope them to go.
“In the good period we had, everyone was happy to come into training with a smile and you carry that through the week. You’re positive, you’re sometimes lucky in the games and have some fortunate wins.
“Right now it is different. The spirit is all right, but of course you’re in a different mood and you just have to deal with it and not let it annoy us too much.
“So when the first passes don’t work, do not get annoyed and stop doing what it takes. We have to know we still need to put in the work that is required all the time, and no matter if the situation before has been good or bad.”
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…