Norwich must learn the lessons of their past Premier League shortcomings and get more streetwise to stay up next season, according to former striker Dion Dublin.
The Canaries made a swift return to the top flight after winning the Sky Bet Championship for the second time in three years.
Having finished bottom at the end of the 2019/2020 Premier League campaign, the only way is up for Daniel Farke’s squad.
While key playmaker Emi Buendia was sold for a club-record fee to Aston Villa earlier in the summer window, Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour has arrived on a season loan from Chelsea to bolster the ranks.
Dublin feels game management from players being brave on the field will be crucial as Norwich prepare to host Liverpool at Carrow Road on August 14.
“I would be very, very disappointed if they hadn’t learned from last time,” Dublin told the PA news agency.
“I believe Daniel will have taken on what happened last time and thought ‘right, we can do this, but we can’t do that’.
“He will start making decisions, like on playing out from the back, forcing it, which for me was their biggest downfall.
“They are good enough to do it, but at certain times, you have also got to know when not to do it and I think that is what he will change.”
Former England striker Dublin added: “A lot of it is down to players being brave enough to take that decision themselves. The gaffer will be saying ‘play out from the back’.
“But when the full press is on, like with Manchester City, waiting to squeeze, then you as a player, as a captain, at centre-half I am going to be saying ‘right get up the pitch. Leave it, don’t try it now. Let’s get the ball as far away from our goal as possible’.
“When you are winning 1-0, it will be – ‘just squeeze up, don’t worry about it’.
“It is saying ‘I will deal with the pressure from the manager’ – because he won’t mind if you won 1-0 and look crap. Who cares?
“Making those decisions, you have got to have brave players. There has got to be an element of being senior within your mindset, in order for you to be brave enough to take that decision.
“Knowing when to go into the corner is one thing, knowing when to pass it forward or back is another thing. It is about game management with individuals.”
Dublin, 52, started his career with Norwich, although he never made a senior appearance, and later returned for two seasons ahead of retirement in May 2008.
The former England international – who broke through with Cambridge before joining Manchester United then went on to spells at Coventry, Aston Villa, Leicester and Celtic – feels the Norfolk club remain on a very solid footing as they look to punch above their weight next season.
“First and foremost, of course, they have got to be careful with the purse strings and not to try to stretch themselves too much,” said Dublin, speaking on behalf of the EFL and eBay, who today announced a new partnership and unveiled their ‘Small Businesses United’ campaign.
“I know that can be labelled at a lot of clubs as well, to just be careful, but with Norwich, they just have this way of managing the football club and are very level.
“I love (Norwich’s joint majority shareholders) Delia (Smith) and Michael (Wynn Jones). They are great people and what they have done for the football club, it is just never ending – but they are also good business people.
“They love the football club, and would do anything for the football club, but they are not stupid, so it is ‘let’s get the football club run at the right level and with the players we can afford to get’.”
:: Dion Dublin was speaking on behalf of the EFL and eBay. Learn more about eBay’s ‘Small Business United’ campaign here…