Norwich hope sightseeing Wembley visit will banish the nerves

Norwich City

Alex Neil took his Norwich City squad on a trip around Wembley Stadium this week as the build-up to the Championship play-off final continues.

In a move typical of the meticulous approach Neil has adopted at Carrow Road, the Norwich players took time out from a North London training camp to visit Wembley Stadium this week, in preparation for Monday's final against Middlesbrough.

Wembley is notorious for proving to be too big a stage for some players to perform on, and with so much at stake in what many observers call the 'richest game in football', it makes perfect sense to make a quiet visit to the stadium beforehand to take in the surroundings and banish any feelings of awe long before the big day.

Speaking to Norwich's official You Tube channel, but quoted in the Eastern Daily Press, Neil said: “It is important they are not overawed when they go there on Monday if it was the first time for some of them. They have seen the stadium, they have been in the changing room where they will get changed, just so they know what is coming. We took them down to familiarise themselves with the surroundings.

“It was my first time as well and it is something else. It is a top quality stadium. For me, however, it is about the 11 on the pitch doing the job. The crowd and the rest will be background noise. We’ve come away for a couple of days and then it will be back to Norwich and focused on the job and normal training.”

With so much of the build-up to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final being about mental preparation, it seems Neil is taking the right approach, whilst also channelling thoughts towards the win: “It is one of the highlights of your career,” he said. “I keep reminding the players they may never get this opportunity again and for a lot of them it will be their first time. You want to make sure it is a good experience and that only comes if you win."

Five days still separate the Norwich squad from their Wembley date with destiny, and with the stadium visit out of the way, Neil has to spend the remaining time fine tuning the fitness and tactics of his squad as the countdown begins.

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