Zimbo points to vital lessons Canaries must take from loss at Luton
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Christoph Zimmermann believes Luton gave Norwich City a timely reminder about the attitude required to succeed in the Championship during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat in the League Cup first round.
The centre-back was one of the City players in action at Kenilworth Road, when Daniel Farke was without 20 first team players due to international action, suspension and injuries, and handed debuts to six players.
After a competitive encounter, Kieran Dowell had quickly cancelled out a James Collins penalty in the 81st minute but the striker reclaimed the lead soon after and completed his hat-trick in injury-time.
Asked if he thought the busy transfer window a better squad than they had in the Premier League last season, Zimmermann said: “It’s certainly not worse! But in the end, that’s on paper, that doesn’t guarantee you anything, because today I think we maybe had on paper the better side.
“But certainly in terms of mentality and character, the work rate to fight and win the game, that’s where we have to improve. Good names with quality on paper doesn’t help you with that at all, you still need to bring it on the pitch and still have an opposition to face.
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“Us coming down, Bournemouth, Watford, everyone will be motivated to play against us, it’s not like two seasons ago when no one expected us to do well.
“This time the attitude and view of us is different in the league so more than the seasons before we need to bring that on the pitch.”
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The 27-year-old, who played a major role in the Canaries’ title triumph in the Championship in 2018-19, had little interest in using the unusual amount of absentees as an excuse.
“It’s never easy to deal with a defeat, especially not if it’s the first round in a cup,” said the towering defender.
“Yes, the circumstances that we had, but still our claim as Norwich City Football Club should always be to survive in the first round of the cup, no matter if we’ve got 10, 15 or 20 players on international duty.
“This should be our claim so it is disappointing anyhow for us.”
However, Zimmermann also didn’t feel the unusual opening day had brought a performance quite as disappointing as the final score may suggest.
He added: “I think it’s not like we lost 3-1 and we were two goals worse than the opposition, that’s not the whole truth.
“We can’t be happy with the game, for sure. We need to show more, to be better, that’s all correct, but the truth of the matter is we didn’t give anything away until the 79th minute, until then there was not one shot on target.
“It’s something we can build on, the reaction at 1-0 is something we can build on but we also need to make sure the game is not done after 75 minutes, it’s 90-plus minutes and we have to stay switched on for all of it.
“With Timm Klose coming off (in the 59th minute) some things might not have gone in our favour but I don’t think we should look for excuses, we should be critical of ourselves and improve because the season starts in one week’s time.”
That opening Championship fixture is at Huddersfield on Saturday who, like Luton, only narrowly avoided relegation last season.