December 8 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Chris Hughton has left his Norwich players in no doubt the countdown to an opening day Premier League trip to Fulham begins this evening in the picturesque Austrian surroundings of FC Gleisdorf (6pm CET).
German Bundesliga Two club Hertha Berlin provide stiff opposition at the homely Solarstadion and Hughton is looking for a positive postscript to a gruelling week-long training camp at Bad Radkersburg.
“You don’t like losing any games, but that is not the important aspect,” he said. “These friendlies are designed to set ourselves up for what will be a very tough season. The aim is for me and the coaches to be able to put some of our ideas into the players, to put across the shape we want to play and some tactical thoughts and then adapt as we go.
“At this moment we don’t know what side they will put out and how many changes they will make but they are a good side – as regards the quality of the opposition it is vastly experienced. It is about getting through the game and making sure, if we can, we travel back after the game injury-free and that will be the end of a good week.
“The pre-season was arranged before I got here but it’s a good one with good games. I’m pleased after this game and the Celtic game that the remaining matches are back on home soil.
“We have some very good fixtures that give us an opportunity to look at the players.”
Hughton is ruling out any radical change of emphasis from the tried and trusted methodology which successfully carried the Canaries from the depths of League One under his predecessor.
“We won’t be doing anything spectacularly different with the shape of the team,” he said. “Simply put, we want to play in a way that wins us games, whether we rotate players or shapes. That certainly doesn’t really matter at this stage.
“The Premier League is the toughest league to win games in. You at times have to adapt, whether that’s home or away, and do what you have to do to get a result.
“I do like a good tempo in the way that we play, but also a team that ultimately is going to win games. I wouldn’t have thought there would have been any complaints last season if you were a Norwich supporter or a Swansea supporter in the way the team were playing, and they both got very good positions in the league.”
The new City boss has been delighted with the attitude and application of his charges this week after stepping up their pre-season preparations in the sweltering heat of central Europe.
“Training has gone well. The heat makes it a little bit harder for players but what you want to do is come through the week with improved fitness levels and as much as that to come through with no injuries,” said Hughton.
“It is always a tough period with a few knocks and blisters and slight strains and soreness but at the moment we are okay. Pre-season doesn’t change anywhere – whether you are working with or without the ball they have still go to put the effort in and cover the distance.
“If they can do that with a ball at their feet I suppose it is a touch more enjoyable for them but we’ve had good sessions without as well. It is all about trying to reach the targets we set at the end of the week with no injuries.”
The City manager, speaking to the club’s official site, believes he will reap the benefits of the secluded Austrian camp as Norwich look to hit the ground running at Craven Cottage on August 18.
“We came here for the environment. It is a very healthy environment and they are used to hosting football teams,” he said.
“It gives us a chance to get away and get the boys focused. The facilities have been really good. It can get a little bit boring at times when you come away, but that is part and parcel of it.
“We had a week at the training ground in Norwich and here again this is an opportunity for myself and the coaches to see the players – particularly when we play full-sized games – and an opportunity to watch them close up. It is about getting as much knowledge out of the week as we can.”