Norwich City full-back Max Aarons is desperate for the Canaries to progress to the FA Cup semi-finals, a feat not achieved for 28 years.
Previewing Saturday’s quarter-final at home to Manchester United, Aarons spoke to canaries.co.uk after the Everton defeat about the significant challenge that lies ahead.
canaries.co.uk: The Everton game was a tough one to take in terms of the performance and result. What did you make of how the lads approached it?
MA: Definitely disappointed to lose. From the other day against Southampton, that was a tough game and not a very good performance from everyone, so we knew we had to come out against a team as strong or stronger than Southampton and be right at it.
I agree with the boss that the performance was better against Everton, but very disappointing to lose. We can speak about performance all we want, but it’s disappointing to lose how we lost the game.
canaries.co.uk: The boss made four changes to the team, and spoke about how it’s difficult to keep everyone fresh with the amount of games we’ve got to play. How are you feeling in terms of fitness?
MA: For me, it’s an odd one because you’re getting fitter by playing the games. The more tired you become from playing the games, the fitter you become as well, so I feel like it’s getting better with each game.
I think a lot of the boys are feeling a lot better and fitter. I feel good in my body and am ready to get going again on Saturday.
canaries.co.uk: What’s it been like playing such important games behind closed doors?
MA: It’s definitely odd, I think any player would say that. With us this season, the fans have been so critical for us in terms of keeping us in games, getting us back into games and winning them, especially when we’ve been underdogs.
It’s hard, especially being in a team lower down in the division - you rely on your fans more than others - so it’s hard without them but we know we still have a job to do and have to battle on the pitch.
canaries.co.uk: Saturday’s game is a massive one in the history of the club - our first FA Cup quarter final in 28 years. Are the team aware of how much it means to the fans?
MA: Yeah, of course. It’s a separate competition to the league. We discussed the Everton game, but now it’s onto the FA Cup, where we can really write history.
It’s a great opportunity for us all, regardless of the fans not being there. It’s massively important that we put on a great performance and hopefully get through to the next round.
It’s going to be massive if we can make it to the semi-finals, where this club hasn’t been for a long time. To get to this stage is good, but we want to go a step further.
If we play how I know we can play and are right on it, I think we can.
canaries.co.uk: Man United have shown they’re in good form since the restart. You must be really keen to showcase your best abilities against one of the biggest clubs in the world.
MA: When you’re coming up against a team the size of Man United, you know you’re going to be in for a tough game. Everyone will be right up for the game and definitely ready.
It’s a quick turnaround from Wednesday, but they played on Wednesday as well so they’ll be as tired as we’re feeling, so we’ve got to get that out of our heads and be focused on the game.
If we’re at it from the start, we can trouble any team, so I’m really looking forward to it.