Matt Howman: A month to forget for City but Farke must be given time
PUBLISHED: 20:00 27 November 2017
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Another drab, lacklustre performance puts to bed a month to forget for Daniel Farke and the club as City limp into December out of form and devoid of confidence.
High-flying Cardiff await Norwich on Friday and based on both teams’ recent displays, City are likely to be in for another tough, gruelling evening.
Saturday’s performance was up there with the worst I’ve seen this season. We failed to find any width, rhythm or pace to our play. Preston outfought and out-muscled us across the park and at times it was them, not us that looked to be the home side.
Our transition from defence to attack was completely lacklustre and the players’ body language showed negativity throughout the game. The missing influence of Alex Tettey was evident in the middle of the pitch; how Norwich could have done with his presence and unwaning enthusiasm as a replacement to his antithesis, Mario Vrancic.
Farke rallied support for Mario after a string of disappointing performances but his extended run in the starting XI has so far failed to deliver results.
MORE: Return of Pritchard gives Farke hope
There’s the odd pass that Vrancic makes which shows the glimmer of a promising player but all too often he is a yard off the pace and unable to win key battles in midfield. Farke can argue that he posted the highest work-rate of any player against Barnsley but he needs to show more urgency on the pitch and be more efficient with the ball to survive in the Championship.
Nelson Oliveira was perhaps the biggest culprit of failing to show any team spirit on Saturday; from the first minute to the last his body language was abject and after making a whole host of errors, frustration boiled over and he received an extremely cheap yellow to cap off a pretty torrid display.
It must be a tough call for Farke because you want to be able to rely on your best players and Oliveira has already proven he has the ability to turn something out of nothing, so taking him off at any point in the game is a big risk. What message would that have sent out to the fans if you take off your star striker at home when your team is already struggling for goals?
In a similar situation, Josh Murphy was arguably one of Saturday’s poorest performers but from Farke’s point of view he is trying to develop his young players so taking them off after making a mistake, no matter how vital, could kill his players’ confidence. The psychological element of the game is so important, and as much of a success-factor in a player now as his physical attributes.
There are already fans surfacing doubt over Farke and slight grumbles emerging that he isn’t the right man for the club – he’s only just walked through the door!
MORE: Christmas has come early for Pritchard
The football hasn’t been great but he’s clearly analysing the performances in minute detail, his post-match interviews rattling off the statistics may not be comforting to listen to after a poor performance however you have to respect his knowledge of the game and the results of a cost-cutting transfer window he’s now working with.
Similar to what’s going on at Everton, this poor period won’t last. January however needs a turnaround and whether that involves Steven Naismith moving on to free up funds, Norwich could do with a striker and a defensive midfielder to strengthen the side. We’re not a million miles away from the play-offs and it’s a long season so it’s still all to play for...
Finally, what’s happened to sportsmanship in the game? Poor Mark Jones limping across the width of the pitch, injured in sub-zero temperatures without any help from any of the medical staff!
Tim Robinson was having an abysmal game but not even he ran to his aid, although based on some of his earlier decisions I’m surprised he didn’t show him a yellow for leaving his side of the pitch.