Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke was pleased with what he saw in his side’s 6-0 win over MK Dons on Friday, but showed no signs of getting carried away with a friendly win.
“You always want to start the first game of pre-season on the front foot with a good performance and result and that’s what the lads delivered,” he said. “I was pleased with the workload and our tactical approach, having only trained for three or four days.
“We were against a side in their fourth week of pre-season who were highly motivated with an important test, so it was a good performance and result.
“We could have scored even more goals as we had an unbelievable amount of chances - we missed even more than we scored - but I was particularly pleased with the clean sheet today. In pre-season, you have many changes so the concentration can go away, but we were focused from the first second to the last.”
The 2020-21 pre-season will be a test of who can achieve the most in the shortest space of time as Championship teams know the beginning of the league campaign is just over three weeks away.
“We don’t have a proper pre-season - there’s barely any time to prepare ourselves as quickly as possible,” Farke said. “The new lads are thrown into the cold water and we have to see if they’re capable of swimming.
“They need a bit of time to adapt. In the second half, when we had more experienced players on the pitch, our game looked a bit more balanced, but many compliments to the new, young lads.”
Perhaps a factor in City’s convincing win at Lotus Training Centre, the players haven’t had much time off, even when away on short holidays.
“Before we sent the lads on a short holiday, we spoke about not having much of a pre-season, so we have to be in top class shape,” Farke said. “During these two or three weeks before the first competitive game, there’s not much time to work on the physical basis.
“They worked unbelievably hard at home on their fitness plans. They were all top class. Without that fitness level you can’t deliver such a performance in the first game.
“It’s important that we work hard in Germany to be prepared for this tricky and strange situation. Many players won’t be available for our first game [through international duty], but the games will come thick and fast so we have to be prepared.”
6-0 is always a satisfying scoreline to be on the right end of, but of course amounts to very little in a pre-season friendly, and Farke is hesitant of getting too carried away.
“I wouldn’t over interpret this game too much,” he said. “It was of course a good win and performance but it was just a friendly. I’m not over the moon. Josh started well in the game and scored twice. Adam Idah could have scored four or five. Przemyslaw could have scored four or five as well.
“I was pleased with the way Josh used his chances and finished his situations but there’s lots of work to do, so I’m not willing to say too much on individual performances. The players are heading in the right direction and we’ll go further on with this attitude.”
The squad will now fly off to Germany for three more pre-season matches, as well as a selection of team building exercises outside of football.
“It’s important to be together 24/7 in pre-season,” Farke added. “We have to prepare ourselves from the football point of view, which will be quite intense with tactical things and friendlies, but it’s also important we spend time together with team building.
“We have many new faces and they have to adapt, so it’s good when they sit together with a coffee and speak about their private lives. That’s important for team building, so we’ll give them some time to do this.”