Norwich City are currently on their pre-season tour in Germany and are set to take on 2.Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld in their first preparation game on Sunday (4pm KO local time).
Canaries.co.uk sat down with Head Coach Daniel Farke to catch up on a number of topics. See the full transcript below:
Daniel - it must be nice to be back in training after a long period of time-off?
We’ve been back for 12 days already. It’s really good after such a long break and everyone was looking forward to getting together again and playing some football, especially after the big success of last season.
It was nice to see the lads again and everyone was in a good mood. It’s quite normal after just a week of pre-season that you are tired and the players are moaning a little bit about the load but that’s quite normal.
It’s a busy period and also a pretty important period. We have to work on the basement for the whole season and it’s good to be allowed to work with the players once again.
How are the lads coping with the demands of training at present?
They are coping pretty well. Most of them are pretty well-prepared and in a good physical condition. Some of them are coming back after injuries and have had to do some work on their own but even for the lads who are prepared, it’s very tough.
There are many sessions at the moment and it’s not just on the physical load, it’s also about the mental load as well.
We speak a lot about tactical things during meetings and it can be a bit draining but it is like it is. Pre-season is always tiring but you have to invest in it because you get the benefits in the long-term.
It’s important with our young group of players to be on the top fitness level and have the top tactical knowledge in order to be prepared for the toughest league in the world. But I think the lads are doing brilliant at the moment.
We're currently on tour in Germany. How important is this trip not only for fitness and tactics but also for enhancing our team spirit as well?
It’s very important because the spirit in the group was crucial for success. We had a special spirit and togetherness last season and I think this topic will be even more important during this season.
Last season was not easy but perhaps slightly easier because we were so successful in sticking together. We were always able to answer with a win after a loss last season but at the top level, it could be that you’re not able to answer with a win after a loss and, for that, it’s even more important to stick together and have a big bond.
It’s a big topic for this week that we create the same spirit, maybe an even better spirit.
There are four new faces in the squad – new signings Patrick Roberts, Josip Drmic, Ralf Fährmann and Adam Idah from the Academy. How are they settling into the team?
They are doing brilliantly. It’s quite easy for new lads to settle into this amazing dressing room. All of them make the life for our new arrivals pretty easy.
We are pretty careful when bringing in new players in terms of personality. Ralf, Josip, Patrick and also Adam have been brilliant in this topic.
Of course, they have to handle the load and have to adapt a bit to the new faces and new exercises and our philosophy.
It’s more difficult for the new lads in pre-season but my feeling is they’ve settled in really well and it feels like they’ve been with this group for such a long time already.
Can you sense a different atmosphere in training at the moment, given that we are preparing for a new challenge with Premier League football?
Of course, we know right now the first game is at Liverpool, a highlight game and the opener of the Premier League season.
We know there’ll be lots of attention on this topic and of course the lads are excited, that’s quite normal. But the most important thing is that you are concentrated on your work and are not too nervous.
We’ve had three incomings so far in the transfer window. Can we expect to see any more business being done this summer in terms of players coming in?
We have to stay awake and we always look to strengthen our squad. The squad is not too big at the moment so it could be that there are one or two additions. The size of the group won’t be too big though, that’s for sure.
We work with a core group and it’s also important that you don’t work with pressure and fear on the players, they should feel comfortable.
But of course, in one or two positions, we could need some additions and we will look to bring some people in but without any pressure.
I totally trust this group and if we feel a certain player is not the right addition for the group, we won’t do anything.
We’ve seen a number of players having their form from last year rewarded with new, improved contracts this summer. How important has that been for the Club?
It’s well-deserved and it’s important that you are fair as a club. It’s also a sign that this Club looks after its players.
It’s also unbelievably important for our reputation and, from a sporting point-of-view, important that all the players who were responsible for this success are important for the future of the Club that they signed new contracts and they stick by this group.
They’ve said “yes” to our philosophy and “yes” to our way and therefore, they are all brilliant signings.
We have our first game of pre-season tomorrow against Arminia Bielefeld – how much are you looking forward to seeing your players back on pitch in yellow and green shirts?
11v11 is what we train for. Of course, we are all excited to put on the shirt once again and play some football.
It will be tricky because Bielefeld is a tough opponent for the first pre-season test. I think it’s their most important test right now because their season starts very soon.
My lads will perhaps be a little bit tired. In pre-season, it’s not so much about the result, it’s about the load and being prepared for the whole season and for the first game.
With there being plenty of competition for places right across the team, what will you be looking for from the players on Sunday?
In general, there has been lots of load. For example, today [Saturday], we have had two tough sessions and one tomorrow morning [Sunday].
In the afternoon for the game, the players will not be as fresh and prepared like they will be for the first game of the season. But it’s not that important.
I hope they can handle the load and try to work a bit on our flexibility and a little bit on our base formation.
I also want to see that we get used to our processes again pretty quickly. It will be an interesting test tomorrow.