LILLESTRØM (VG) They have not played a match in 192 days and had their first joint training since March 9 on Wednesday. How should this go?
Captain Maren Mjelde and Maria Thorisdottir are not worried ahead of Tuesday’s meeting against Wales in the European Championship qualifier. The Chelsea stars feel confident that Norway as a national team has improved due to the corona pandemic – not worse.
– With the corona rules, we have all done a number of other things that we have not done before which I think have made more people better equipped to return to the season run-up. I think our coaches at Chelsea were a little shocked when they saw how physically fit everyone was when we returned. We also knew that we were dependent on it since we have a huge squad with good football players. If you are not physically prepared, you will lag behind in training, says Maren Mjelde.
The uncertainty, that one did not know when the league would start, led to extra training.
– That was when we could go out. That’s how it was for us who live in England, we could only go out if we were to train. Then we had to sneak a few extra training hours during a day. There was a lot of training and a lot of different training since it was difficult to train so much football.
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Chelsea teammate Maria Thorisdottir has the same starting point.
– To be completely honest, I do not think any players have trained as well as from March until now. Since the only thing you could do was run outside during the whole run-up and the period in the corona time, I think I have had enough of training. We all have a good club life, and then you are well equipped. Now it’s just a matter of getting back into national team mode quickly, and I feel we have managed that, says Thorisdottir.
The Corona break may, on the contrary, have been an advantage for the national team players, says Maren Mjelde.
– Yes, absolutely. Many have had a little more rest as well because they have lived in a bubble. For my own part, I have got rid of the “flaws” I had and feel healthy as just that. It has probably helped many of us to be able to train a little alternatively for a while.
In the run-up to England, the Chelsea players have been through corona testing twice a week. Now they are tested once a week. Here in Norway, the athletes were tested when they arrived at the hotel, now another corona test awaits before Tuesday’s match.
– We have lived in this world for six months, and it is starting to become a normal everyday life for us. We must be happy that we can gather here, it was long uncertain if there would be a national team gathering, says Maria Thorisdottir.