5:25 PM July 9, 2022
11:39 AM July 10, 2022
Dean Smith admitted Norwich City remain a ‘work in progress’ ahead of the Championship season, after hitting back twice to earn a 2-2 friendly draw against SSV Jahn Regensburg in Germany on Saturday.
Todd Cantwell and Jonathan Rowe were on target in a competitive work out against the Bundesliga 2 side, who began their own league campaign next weekend.
City fly home on Sunday morning after an eight-day trip that ticked all the boxes for Smith.
“We are still a work in progress,” said the City head coach, in a club interview. “I thought we counter-pressed well, but with the ball we probably never got enough rhythm until the last half an hour. It was very stop, start, a few niggly fouls. We are working on a few principles in terms of defending set pieces, and they probably got one or two first contacts from corners.
“Some of our finishing could have been sharper but the runs were really good, the attempt to break at pace was really good. Some good elements moving forward and a good week.
“A really good, competitive game for us against a Bundesliga 2 club who start next week. They are a little bit ahead of us in terms of fitness. We had six players who played an hour, and the majority of the rest got 30 minutes .
“The things we have worked on, some were good, some we still have to work on. But the players have worked extremely hard and I wanted them to go into this game tired and stressed to see how they make decisions. When you come away in pre-season like this I get to see them 24/7 and they get to see me.You can learn a lot about their character.
“It was a good facility. Very hot the first couple of days but then it cooled down and it enabled us to get the work into them we wanted. It was good to get the internationals back. These camps are really important. We are building up that togetherness.It feels a really good group, and the games are coming up thick and fast now.
“Hopefully the work we are doing gives us a chance to see continued progress. I have been really impressed with Danel (Sinani) who was on loan at Huddersfield last season. He has a really good picture when the ball arrives, he plays one touch , two touches, has a really good delivery from a set piece.
“Onel (Hernandez) has made his mark in training already. Plus we already had Jordan (Hugill) and Sam (McCallum) who had come in previously and adjusted to the pace of what we want. It has been really good to see them.
“The international lads have a bit more work to do to catch up in terms of fitness. Now we can start to work on the sharpness. We have a local game to come at King’s Lynn and we need to start ramping up the minutes. Then we have a really tough game at Marseille. The two Scottish games back-to-back will allow me to get 90 minutes into most of the squad. That is most difficult aspect in pre-season, to get the balance right.”
Smith also provided a fitness update on Newcastle United summer signing, Isaac Hayden, who was again absent.
“He trained with us the first week but then got a little bit of swelling on the knee,” Smith said. “We are a little bit concerned about that so we have just wanted him to rest at the moment.”