Norwich City midfielder Alexander Tettey is under no illusions regarding the challenge the Canaries face this weekend, as eighth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Carrow Road for Saturday’s Premier League fixture.
The attacking style and high quality of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side should lend itself to both an enjoyable game to watch and a challenging one to play in, according to Tettey.
“Wolves are a very good side and we are very respectful of them and the players they have,” he said. “Wolves’ forwards can punish you. Adama Traore is a good winger. We faced him in the Championship last season, and he can carry the ball from the back to the front as quick as possible. They’re very resilient. Last season, you could see they were a very good team, so it’s going to be a good game but a very tough one.
“There aren’t many teams that can combine doing well in Europe with doing well in the Premier League, so big praise to them. We admire them and want to be at that level.”
With Norwich looking for their first win at Carrow Road since September’s famous victory against Manchester City, Tettey says he and the team feel the responsibility of getting the supporters fully behind them for Wolves.
“We want to get the home crowd going and win games,” he said. “We’ve done that once at Carrow Road this season which is very rare for us. We really want to start winning again at home. It will be quite different because Wolves are good in their shape and can keep the ball, so maybe we need to mix it up.
“The way we play is quite expansive at times, so when we make mistakes, we’re far apart from each other and can lose our shape. That’s the philosophy of the manager and the club and what the players believe in, so that’s not going to change. We don’t want to sit back and wait for something to happen."
Looking at recent form, in which Daniel Farke’s side have lost just two of the last five matches, results have kept City within touching distance of Aston Villa in 17th, and Tettey insists there have been signs of improvement.
“We’ve been very competitive in every game,” he added. “In the last five games, we could have won all of them. We haven’t played at our best for 90 minutes all the time, which is why we lost against Southampton and Watford.
“With all of that, to still be three points from safety is good and we’ve got games coming up where there’s no pressure on us. We know we need to dig deep and keep going to hopefully close the gap.
“When we went to Everton, we played well for 90 minutes, got the clean sheet and won 2-0. At Southampton, in the first half we didn’t do as we were told, but we won the second half which wasn’t enough to win the game. We did the same at home to Sheffield United.
“In this division, if you do that, you can’t win games. It’s about being on the front foot and knowing, as a young newly promoted team, we can’t have different performances in each half. We have to keep going until the final whistle. We did that at Leicester City and got the result, so we have to do that consistently and the points will keep coming.
“Going there with no pressure, we knew we couldn’t allow them to play their game, so we got into their faces and didn’t allow space. We played well and could have nicked all three points, so we take a lot of confidence from that to get ourselves going again.”
So why do Norwich tend to perform better against teams in the division’s top half rather than those further down the table? It’s all about style, Tettey explains.
“Tactically, it can be a little bit easier against the top sides because we know they’ll have the ball and we need to defend better. When we play sides that we feel like we have a chance of winning against, we try to dictate the game and they are clever, choosing when to sit back and hit us on the counter.
“In the future, we need to blend dictating the play and having it in the back of our heads that we need to be in shape to avoid getting hit on the counter.”