No pain, no gain for Norwich City general Alex Neil on Alpine tour

Alex Neil pictured during the pre season friendly match against Cambridge. Picture by Daniel Hambury

Alex Neil pictured during the pre season friendly match against Cambridge. Picture by Daniel Hambury/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Daniel Hambury/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is warning Norwich's squad can expect a torturous training camp this week at their Alpine base.

City trained for the first time on Sunday in Grassau, Germany, ahead of Monday's opening tour match against Israeli side Maccabi Haifa, just over the Austrian border in Kufstein (KO 5:30pm UK).

Norwich play top Bundesliga outfit FC Augsburg next weekend before heading home and Neil will use the time in between to step up his preparations for the Premier League kick-off against Crystal Palace on August 8.

'It is going to be a difficult week for them, not just with the games but the training. There'll be double training sessions each day so the focus is solely on football,' he said. 'It is important we go out and have a good week and pick up no injuries, which is the key thing.

'In the games I want to make sure we acquit ourselves well and hopefully our quality will improve and that sharpness which comes with playing games. We are getting to the stage where I want to see that sharpness come into our game.'

Norwich's European leg is all part of Neil's meticulous planning.

'You need different types of opposition, for me, in pre-season,' he said. 'I'm sure there are those who are disappointed we don't have any foreign opposition at home leading up to the start of the season, but that is not what we are going to face.

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'We are going to face British opposition, albeit with foreign players, but the style is totally different. These two games at this stage are about how well we can adjust and cope with a different challenge.'

Neil has brought out a 25-man squad for the next two friendlies, after fielding two different line ups again for a 120-minute practice match at League Two Cambridge United on Friday.

'I thought we dominated the game to be fair,' said the City boss. 'The first 30 minutes I was pleased with, we created good opportunities and didn't score a goal when we should have. In the second 30 minutes I thought we were a bit sloppy, we didn't move the ball well enough and Cambridge had a lot of counter-attacks which came from our poor play so that was disappointing. We should have done better.

'I thought the next group did very well. We controlled it for those 60 minutes, created a lot of chances and made it difficult for Cambridge. They worked hard, they were organised and it was exactly the type of test we needed at this stage of pre-season. We have a big squad so I wanted to make sure the lads had 60 minutes, it ticked all the boxes,'

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