The new Manager of the Norwegian Football Team, Lars Lagerbäck is eager to start the job of making the national team able to perform in the World Cup qualifying match against Northern Ireland.
At Monday’s press conference at the Pestana Hotel Chelsea in London he came fifteen minutes ahead of time and started to shake hands with all the Norwegian journalists and photographers present. He evidently longed after the first player meeting to be held right after the press conference.
– We’ll talk about the way we work and live together on and off the pitch. It is the first time I go into a major battle with them, and there will therefore be more team meetings than usual. There will be a mouthful for the players to swallow, but I choose to believe that the drops will eventually hollow the stone out, he said. First he had to deal with the media.
– It was quieter in Iceland. I never saw five microphones there, Lagerbäck said, referring to the five that were set up on the table in front of him.
Trains at home
All of the 24 players chose last week are gathered in London, but one of them goes home on Tuesday.
– Markus Henriksen will be with the squad today only. We do it this way so that we can get acquainted. With his long injury period, we consider it to be better that he trains at home during this week.
The Hull player has been out with shoulder injury since the league cup semi finals two months ago, and has yet to make a comeback.
The 23 other players in the squad met, according to Lagerbäck, to the gathering “without defects”.
Before Monday’s meeting he has only talked to a handful of the squad’s players.
– Only those that were questionable in terms of injuries or little playing time, he said.
– There is much to talk about today and tonight about how we are going to play, and that is why we wanted Markus here today.
Lagerbäck spoke a little about the challenges he precedes in the next six days before the match against Northern Ireland.
– First, it is important to not chew off too much. We should be ambitious but not overly so in what we are trying to achieve. It is important to find the right starting eleven, a third challenge is to find the right mindset or attitude, if you will, Lagerbäck said.
He stressed that it is the first time he debuts with an important game, and it’s a challenge to make the team able to perform Sunday already.
He will speak to the players first about the defending-, and then the, attacking play, and has allocated two trainings to harp on each of them.
– And then I’ll try to be amateur psychologist and talk a bit about how to win football games. attitude, attitude, attitude as they say in English may be a cliché, but it is possible to fill it with something that we can use on the pitch, both physically and mentally, and that gives us a better chance to win.
Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, Lagerbäck will announce who gets to be his captain, and he says that team selection is an unusually open affair.
– This week will have greater significance than normal for the team selection.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today