Norwich head coach Dean Smith wants his side to fully focus on their own business at Leeds on Sunday, rather than worrying about the changes new boss Jesse Marsch will bring to Elland Road.
The Canaries traveled to West Yorkshire looking for momentum from a spirited performance in the second half of the 3-1 defeat to Chelsea on Thursday night and breathed fresh life in the hopes of sustaining a fast.
Leeds, meanwhile, are aiming to stop a six-game losing streak in the league that leaves them just two points above the relegation zone and sees American Marsch replace Marcelo Bielsa.
Marsch has called on his men to be brave and keep faith with their own game plan – which looked less cohesive as they were beaten 3-0 at home by Aston Villa.
Smith knew that no matter what tactics Marsch might decide to deploy, his team had to pay attention to delivering the performance needed to return to Norfolk with a positive outcome.
“He’s only had two games, so there’s going to be very little message to the team about what he needs,” Smith said.
“But it’s important for us to focus on ourselves rather than against and make sure we show the same form we did in the second half against Chelsea.”
“What’s moving in the right direction is the quality of the opportunities we’re creating, and we should take more advantage of those opportunities,” Smith added.
Marsch feels his team plays with an element of fear against Villa, as the Elland Road followers are rather restless.
Smith believes that Norwich must find a way to take advantage of every opportunity to increase the pressure on the home team.
“Their support has been fantastic and it’s a really tough place to go, but we have to keep them as quiet as possible,” the Canaries boss said.
“We can do that by keeping the ball, by playing in their half and by taking advantage of the set pieces.
“It will be a difficult game, but they are falling and confidence is very important in football.
“The players will follow a game plan, but it has to be about us moving forward, what we can do and how we can hurt the opponent.”
Smith started with a header back against Chelsea, who had taken a 2-0 lead in the first 14 minutes.
Norwich changed their formation again in the first half, with Milot Rashica being one of the impact-makers from the bench.
Teemu Pukki scored to shorten the score from the penalty spot, before Kai Havertz saved Chelsea with a third goal in injury time.
Finland striker Pukki feels Norwich could lose heart from their efforts after such a lousy start.
“It’s a big game on Sunday, so we need to be confident from the second half into that game,” Pukki said on the club’s website.
“I think we showed that we can play at this level and we have what it takes. We just had to do it for 90 minutes on Sunday.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/norwich-must-marsch-to-their-own-beat-in-elland-road-showdown-dean-smith-41438852.html Norwich must Marsch to beat themselves in Elland Road confrontation – Dean Smith