Smith sets City squad extra homework

Dean Smith and Craig Shakespeare are testing the Norwich City squad on and off the pitch

Dean Smith and Craig Shakespeare are testing the Norwich City squad on and off the pitch - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dean Smith has Norwich City’s players swotting up for a Premier League survival bid ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham. 

Smith has plotted a three match unbeaten run since replacing Daniel Farke at Carrow Road, to guide the Canaries back in touch with their relegation rivals. 

But it is not just on the pitch where City’s squad have impressed their new head coach. 

“I looked at the physical data before I got here and I was really happy with where the players were,” he said. “When we played Southampton and Wolves, in terms of how much distance we ran and covered, and the same against Newcastle, I didn't need to do double sessions when it came to physical output. It wasn't a case of making the team fitter because they were there already.

"We've done a little bit more classroom sessions, in terms of what we want to do with the coaching, and trying to get the players involved in that as well.  

“I don't want to provide information overload. I need to know what the players know, so that we can teach them a little bit more; just in our debriefs and preparations for the games, asking them questions about the tactical side of the game, what they understand and what they don't.

"I obviously can't give away too much, but I have been pleasantly surprised on the tactical side.” 

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Smith admits November was a ‘crazy’ month on a personal level, after getting dismissed by Aston Villa and ending it in the running for the manger-of-the-month.

Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and his Villa successor, Steven Gerrard, were shortlisted, but only Guardiola bettered Norwich’s combined eight point haul, which included Farke’s winning swansong at Brentford. 

“No, it just shows how football is. I've been involved in football long enough to know that there's some crazy moments and, you know, obviously, last month has been one of them,” said Smith. “For me the best thing over the past month has been coming into this club and the welcome that myself and Shakey (Craig Shakespeare) have been given, and not just us but the families as well.

"Very, very warm club. And it's got so much potential as well, which is what attracted myself and Shakey to it. That, and the fact that from the minute we got on the grass the application and the attitude from the players has been first class.”