'We have to realise we can achieve something special' - Midfielder looks beyond cup disappointment
Norwich City's Carabao Cup run may be over but Mario Vrancic is confident there will be plenty more to get excited about this season.
The Bosnian midfielder was as good as anyone on the pitch as the Canaries gave Premier League high-flyers Bournemouth an almighty last-16 scare at Vitality Stadium on Tuesday night.
But with that 2-1 defeat being one of only two City losses in 13 games, Vrancic knows their Championship potential offers the chance for more highs to come.
“We have to use our chances and realise that we can achieve something special and extraordinary, with our supporters and all that stuff – we are looking forward to what will happen over the next weeks and months,” said a clearly disappointed Vrancic in the immediate aftermath of their Cherries defeat.
Of course, it was after City’s fourth-round defeat at Arsenal last season that their equally promising league start was derailed all the way to Christmas – and Vrancic has a simple ploy to avoid history repeating.
“Stop thinking about it!” he smiled. “We have played so well and we were very convinced about our style of playing and in the end, our results have been amazing.
“It’s all about our results and not thinking about what happened a year ago. We are convinced about our strength and we keep going, definitely.
“This was ridiculous. I’m speechless, honestly. We are gutted that we lost. So many chances and we defended very well. What do I say? Now we can focus on the league for the next two months obviously.
“We played so convincingly and so well against a Premier League side and it’s just ridiculous we couldn’t score more than one goal. We controlled the game against a good side.
“Definitely we can take pride from this. We can be proud of our performance. But it is all about results and if you lose or miss a chance to be in the last eight of the Carabao Cup, it’s very disappointing.”
The loss of more cup games until the FA Cup arrives in Norwich’s schedule next year, also means fewer opportunities on the horizon for those on the fringes of Daniel Farke’s sizeable squad.
Seven on City’s Bournemouth starters had fewer than five league starts this season – with Vrancic one of five yet to break into one of Farke’s Championship starting XIs since the summer.
“Somehow everyone hopes to get more minutes,” admitted Vrancic. “We had eight changes here and everyone played well, so let’s se what happens.
“You have no other choice but to use the minutes you get from the boss and not only me, everyone on the pitch was very motivated to play well and somehow convince the boss we can get more minutes in the league. That’s what we did but in the end with a disappointing result.
“I know they are all playing so well. It’s very hard for the boss to pick a first XI. I hope I can get more minutes on the pitch in the next weeks.”
With Todd Cantwell and Marco Stiepermann both doubtful for Saturday’s Championship trip to Sheffield Wednesday, that chance could come sooner than expected.
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