Lessons learned for Norwich City boss Neil Adams
Norwich City boss Neil Adams said the Canaries’ 2-2 pre-season friendly finale against Celta Vigo was an invaluable learning aid.
City looked in the mood to cut loose again when Lewis Grabban scored twice inside the opening 11 minutes at Carrow Road on Friday after hammering OGC Nice 5-1 earlier in the week, but Vigo showed their class to hit back before the break.
Manuel Agudo Nolito and impressive Danish international Michael Krohn-Dehli replied for the Galicians who struck John Ruddy’s woodwork twice and tested the England international throughout as City were forced on the defensive for sustained spells before finishing strongly.
“You definitely learn more about your players in a game like that,” said Adams. “Yes, it’s good to score goals and we have done that throughout pre-season, but we have had a couple of real tests now.
“The Bastia game was a good test for us in hot conditions, Nice was perhaps one where they tested us in how they kept the ball but we blew them away with goals and then Vigo was probably the most difficult of all against a team playing in La Liga and doing well and you can see why on that performance.
“I was delighted with the standard of opposition. It tested us and I was pleased overall how we stood up to it. There are players in my squad who if we come up against sides as good as that, and that probably remains to be seen this season, then we know we have experienced it.”
Adams deployed Andrew Surman and Bradley Johnson in a central midfield pairing for the opening period with Kyle Lafferty up top on his own supported by Grabban, Wes Hoolahan and Nathan Redmond in a formation that unqestionably had the desired effect during the early sparring when Grabban coolly slotted past Ruben Blanco before despatching Hoolahan’s clever cut-back.
City then reverted to a midfield diamond in the closing stages of the cotest which had served Adams’ squad well during the majority of their close season preparations.
“After an excellent start Celta Vigo showed us just what a good side they are and they posed us the type of problems that I think we needed,” he said. “We were tested in all departments of the team; defence, midfield and up front. It was tough, certainly for the last 20 minutes of the first half, but we got back into it I felt in the second half.
“We changed the shape and I was pleased with the effect that had and then obviously towards the end we looked like we could go on and get a couple of goals so all in all and before your first game of the season precisely the type of opposition I wanted.”