Defender looks ahead to 'unbelievable' Wembley experienceA BINDING team spirit has been the driving force behind Norwich City’s journey to Wembley, according to Martin Olsson.
The full-back has been ever-present since Alex Neil’s appointment in January with the Canaries rescuing an ailing season by charging back into the promotion race – and into a Sky Bet Championship play-off final against Middlesbrough on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm).
Across a long campaign made up of over 50 competitive matches, Olsson believes the unity in the squad has held them in good stead.
“Everyone knows that when you go down to the Championship, it’s always tough to go straight back up; mentally, as well. Players might not want to stay and fight to get back up,” he said at Friday’s press conference.
“We kept most of our team, we’ve been working hard in training and since day one we’ve been saying that we wanted to back up straight away. It’s been tough but we’ve done pretty well this season.
“You need that team spirit. There are so many games in this league and you just need to stay together.
“There needs to be positivity on the training ground, and we’ve shown on the pitch that we trust each other and that we work hard for each other.”
Olsson is looking forward to the ‘unbelievable’ prospect of a winner-takes-all final against Aitor Karanka’s Boro, but says there will be no surprises for his teammates after they visited Wembley earlier in the week.
“It was good for all of us to go down and look at the stadium, and let that sink in before the game,” he added.
“I’ve played there with Sweden before, and it’s a big stadium but I’m not really thinking about that so much. It’s more about the game, and just trying to focus on that.
“It’s going to be unbelievable, the experience. It’s different to a national team game. Our fans will be there and hopefully they will make a lot of noise and push our team on.
“Everyone wants to play in the Premier League, that’s the best league for me. We have a big chance on Monday, so hopefully we make it there for next season.”
The former Blackburn man was linked with a move away from Carrow Road in January but has gone on to establish himself under Neil as City have turned their campaign around.
Ahead of the decisive final hurdle, he added: “I’ve always been happy at Norwich, which I’ve said to everyone.
“I stayed here in January and tried to focus 100%, and it’s been going alright. I’m enjoying my time and I love it here.”