Paddy Davitt verdict: Look closer to home for the team ‘languishing’, Mick
PUBLISHED: 05:04 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 05:09 19 February 2018
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Perspective was in short supply after a quite breathtaking finish to this latest neighbourly squabble.
But Daniel Farke nailed it when asked to describe his emotions in the midst of the maelstrom.
Surreal was really the only label to attach to Norwich City’s epic comeback.
Carrow Road was transformed into a technicolour canvas of contrasting emotions.
Timm Klose was engulfed by team mates on the pitch and reinforcements from the home dug out, who spilled onto the playing surface in a spontaneous pitch invasion.
Farke himself stood with his arms outstretched with a look that suggested he was struggling to process one of the more bizarre endings to this cross-border rivalry.
Mick McCarthy retains the capacity to be a fearsome sight in full flow, but the Yorkshireman’s body visibly sagged as he stood, head bowed, in the mouth of the tunnel.
McCarthy had the look of a man who had been hit in the solar plexus.
This is a manager who has prowled the touchline for a quarter of a century. A vastly-experienced coach who took the Republic of Ireland to a World Cup and both Sunderland and Wolves to the Premier League. He can not have felt as low too often in such a long career.
His players slumped to the turf at the final whistle in the manner of a side who just had lost a cup final.
Which, when you represent a club who have not won this derby fixture since 2009 and came so close to ending that wretched run, is entirely understandable.
Luke Chambers would never have had to buy a drink again in Suffolk after he levered Alex Tettey out of the way to divert Martyn Waghorn’s corner past Angus Gunn seconds from the end of normal time.
But for sheer guts and character, for a refusal to succumb, you have to salute Farke and his young squad.
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By no stretch was this the polished, controlled victory they mustered at Portman Road earlier in the campaign.
City were second best in the first period on home soil.
Farke accurately detected signs of nervousness amongst too many of his raw recruits, who appeared to play the occasion rather than the blue shirts in front of them. Ipswich maximised that sense of disorientation.
Joe Garner and Waghorn played close to the line and over it, in the manner Garner crudely barged Jamal Lewis off the pitch. The aim was clear; to disrupt and frustrate using all available methods.
Norwich looked timid in response, and bar the dominant Grant Hanley, lacking in the physicality to confront such a challenge.
Town went long and looked to win second balls to carve out the set piece chances that residually appear the best outcome for a McCarthy side.
Norwich’s inability to get the likes of James Maddison and Moritz Leitner on the ball higher up the pitch meant they were dragged into the same arm wrestle.
Nelson Oliveira is not a hold up, back-to-the-defender frontman. Play it into the Portuguese international’s feet or over the top and he is a threat. Ask him to grapple with man mountains like Adam Webster and Chambers and the odds start to lengthen.
Bartosz Bialkowski’s low parry after the interval prolonged his agony and the quest for a first goal in 11.
But on a broader point, it remains Farke’s greatest challenge.
Town’s intensity waned, energy levels dropped and Norwich profited.
Maddison became a pivotal presence as the Canaries probed with far a greater threat than they had mustered prior to the interval.
Bialkowski denied the England Under-21 starlet twice from free kick duels.
Klose miscued trying to contort his body six yards out, after the visitors were unable to decisively clear a home corner.
There was much to admire in City’s play. Even more in the character to respond with Ipswich so clearly in the early ascendancy.
But even in the euphoria of extending their lop-sided derby dominance nagging doubts and questions persist.
This is now the primary challenge until the end of this Championship season.
Klose’s majestic intervention was further evidence Farke might be on the cusp of unleashing something special.
The two clubs may be ‘languishing’ in mid-table, to coin a phrase McCarthy used in his dismissive post-match put down of Norwich’s failure to capitalise on the riches they amassed in the Premier League.
But it was the home fans who ironically mocked Town’s longevity at this level again, with a cutting 16th minute round of applause that rolled around Carrow Road.
Only one of these football clubs appears to be moulding a squad under a manager that is looking to the future.
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