City players 'shocked' by Farke methods, reveals skipper
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City skipper Grant Hanley admits some players are “shocked” by the physical demands placed upon them under head coach Daniel Farke.
However, the 29-year-old believes the City squad have bought into the German’s ethos with two promotions in the space of three years demonstrating the effectiveness of his methods.
“The sort of mentality that we have at Norwich and how hard we train and what the manager demands, it’s unbelievable the workload that we get through,” said Hanley, who was an integral part in the Canaries’ title victory last season.
“I would never have dreamed that I would be able to train like I do. That’s the standards – at first you’re probably a bit shocked by it but at the end of the day when you get success you don’t care what the manager is asking of you. You do it, no questions asked.”
Hanley admitted preparations on and off the pitch have changed unrecognisably since he came through as a youngster at Blackburn.
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“It’s a totally different world now – it's scary. I had some proper old school professionals in the dressing room – lads like David Dunn, Keith Andrews, Jason Roberts, Ryan Nelson, Paul Robinson – they were proper old school and they set the standards.
“Training was a bit of an old-school British training regime where it was win on the Saturday then you’re off Sunday and Monday, train Tuesday, off Wednesday, train Thursday and Friday, play Saturday.
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“Now you’ll get a Monday off and that’s probably about it. Tuesday is a long tough session, Wednesday is a double session, Thursday is a bit lighter and then you step it back up again going into the game on Saturday.
“Sunday you’re in for recovery and a debrief. The manager will very often go through the game from the day before. Every detail is looked at. I’ve never spent as much time in a meeting room in my career.
“At first you think ‘what’s going on here?’ but it’s the norm now. Because the lads are buying into it, it’s accepted and that’s what success takes. That’s how committed you need to be.”
Speaking in Jake Humphrey’s High Performance podcast, Hanley revealed the frustration he felt at being unable to help his team-mates during Project Restart last year when City limped towards relegation.
“It was difficult for me because I missed the last nine or 10 games after the restart,” he said. “The biggest disappointment from a selfish point of view is that I felt that I’d been playing well.
“Being a senior player and seeing the lads go through what they went through in those last 10 games was really disappointing.
“We felt like we were never too far away and that we always had a chance in games. For me to miss out at a time when they were struggling. I felt like I had a little bit of experience that could have affected it.
“I’m not saying that if I was playing we’d have stayed up but I think I could have affected the mentality and the attitude of the lads going into the games.”
Changing that losing mindset so quickly is arguably one of Farke’s greatest achievements and Hanley believes the quick turnaround helped players get over their relegation disappointment.
He said: “There was no crisis meeting or anything like that. The manager gave his views on where it went wrong but from a player’s point of view it moves quickly. You have to change your mindset quickly.
“There were a couple of lads that were left out because their attitude wasn’t right and I think that was the manager setting a marker to say ‘this is what’s expected and I don’t care who you are’.
“Some people probably thought at the time that it’s crazy but it worked.
“The most difficult part is going from being the underdog every week to being the favourites.
“The most impressive thing for me was that whenever we went on a run where we won five or six games it was always after we had a disappointing result.
“That match against Swansea was probably what won us promotion and how we reacted to it.”
Hanley acknowledged there may be some psychological scars from their experiences in the Premier League the last time they were there, but insists the players are well placed to handle the pressure.
“That’s a big part of sport in general and life (dealing with past difficulties). I think it’s important to be honest but I think it’s important to be vulnerable at the same time.
“I think it’s important to have times where you’re scared of something – get that out and speak about it, whether that’s with family or friends.
“That needs to be something that you deal with yourself and then after that you have to think ‘what’s stopping us from going doing ourselves justice and being the best, we can be?’
“We are a bit more experienced this time. A couple of the lads have been there and done it when it’s tough. My attitude is ‘why not and what is stopping us?’”