Ondrej Duda on his Norwich City spell so far, Daniel Farke and a willingness to prove himself in Norfolk
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Ondrej Duda is determined to help keep the Canaries in the Premier League.
Under the Carrow Road lights back in January, the attacking midfielder injected a fresh dose of quality into City’s offensive phases of play.
His technical proficiency allowed him to play with limited touches and he got City moving up the pitch in a manner which some of his predecessors in that role had failed to manage prior to his arrival.
Acclimatising to unfamiliar surroundings, a totally new division and a new set of colleagues can take time - something Duda admits has been the case for him.
“It was easier for me than in Germany, because I already knew English,” said the Slovakian international.
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“It is not easy. I came here for a half-year loan and I had to quickly acclimatise in a new city, new club. Just in a new environment. It’s not a long time, some players get acclimatisation quickly, but others need more time. It took me quickly.
“Dressing room colleagues helped me a lot, as did the coach and club representatives. I am happy in Norwich.”
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Duda has made seven top-flight appearances for the Canaries since his winter move to Norfolk and he reflects on his City debut with fond memories, as well as City’s trip to St James Park.
“In my first match against Bournemouth, we played a good game,” he said. “And the meeting with Newcastle United, where unfortunately we only drew 0-0 and we were much better than them, we had a lot more situations 100pc.”
City restart their league campaign this Friday as they prepare to face Southampton behind closed doors.
The Canaries remain in the FA Cup, with the club preparing to play in their first quarter-final in 28 years.
Duda believes City play better football than a number of other clubs - and is choosing to remain optimistic but realistic about their chances in both the league and cup.
“Survival is more possible. There are many matches ahead of us. In the FA Cup, every defeat results in dropping out of the games, there the chances are smaller,” Duda said.
“Of course, we also do not have great chances to stay up, but whenever there are more games, then you can build something over a longer distance.
“Staying up is our priority at the moment, although we will not let up in the FA Cup. The coach said we could not afford to if we want to appear in the final at Wembley.
“We’re definitely not the worst team in the Premier League. We play better football than many teams that are higher in the table than us.”
Daniel Farke has spoke in glowing terms about the quality of Duda. Upon his signing, City’s boss suggested they had loaned in a ‘£20 million’ talent.
Although City haven’t seen Duda’s qualities yield positive results, Farke hasn’t lost faith in the Slovakian, and his appreciation of Duda’s talent hasn’t been lost on the man himself - who compares Farke with a coach he worked with at Legia Warsaw.
“He reminds me a little of Henning Berg in terms of behaviour,” he said.
“He likes to communicate with players, is honest, sometimes jokes. If something is wrong, he always informs.
“He tells the player the truth in the face. I like this very much. His approach to all players is identical. Anyone who trains properly knows that he will play.”
“He tries to react calmly, although it is known how it is. When a team is playing badly, every coach is p***** off. But he tries to approach all situations calmly, I have never once seen him aggressive.”
Like many footballers, Duda is keen to utilise his platform to help stamp racism out of contemporary society.
The Slovakian has voiced his support for anti-racism protestors, with him claiming the issue of race hate is as pertinent as ever.
“It’s a bigger problem than coronavirus. People talked about the pandemic all the time. Stay at home, put on your mask and so on.
“This is obviously important, but not as important as the fight against racism. Racism is a big problem that society has been dealing with for many years. It really must disappear from this world,” Duda told Polish outlet Weszlo.
“When we are born, there is no difference between us. Regardless of skin colour. We are free from differences that only begin to appear later. I hope racism will disappear, but I don’t know when.”