‘We cannot wait for the first game’ - Vrancic says City players are eager for restart
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Norwich City’s players are excited to start working towards the resumption of the Premier League season, midfielder Mario Vrancic has said, as the Canaries step up their training intensity.
Broadcasters Sky Sports and the BBC have confirmed the top flight will resume on Wednesday, June 17 with two games which were postponed previously, leaving City looking likely to resume on the weekend of June 19-21.
Injury issues have restricted Vrancic to just four league starts since playing a pivotal role in a promotion campaign, with the break giving him the chance to get fully fit so that he can make a real impact in the remaining nine league matches.
“There’s definitely some excitement around the group that we know that the season is restarting soon,” said the Bosnia & Herzegovina international, who celebrated his 31st birthday last week.
“We know we still have a chance to make it and stay up and we cannot wait for the first game back, it will be like a do or die game.
“We will be well-prepared for it. Now we are trying to get our bodies ready for action and the coach is happy with our fitness levels, it’s now about maintaining it.
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“I’m pretty confident that we will be fitness-wise and mentally well prepared for the first game back.”
The midfielder had to make do with a place on the bench in City’s last five league games prior to the season’s suspension in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, coming on in just two of those games.
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He had played a more influential role in the FA Cup though, helping to earn wins over Burnley and Tottenham to set up a home quarter-final against Manchester United.
Vrancic was among the players to resume team training in small groups last week, with social distancing still in place. That can now progress towards full contact training again after Premier League clubs unanimously voted on Wednesday to begin stage two of the Return to Training Protocol, which still requires strict hygiene guidelines and for precautions to be taken.
Speaking to City’s website, he continued: “I didn’t see all the lads when I first returned because we were only allowed to train in small groups. It was very strange because we aren’t allowed to use the dressing room or the canteen.
“We use the academy facilities and there’s a one-way system through the indoor dome to the training pitches. Our temperature is checked when we arrive and we have coronavirus tests twice a week.
“Then we go for a short activation session and then for a meeting by the pitch. We then start training and we go home straight away after training finishes.
“Training is a lot different now. We were only allowed to train for limited periods at the start but now that’s changing with the new protocol in place. It’s much better now and there is a lot more interaction.”