For my next trick. Can Daniel Farke crack the code at Norwich City?
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The key to Norwich City developing a ruthless edge for Daniel Farke lies in his decision to go back to basics.
City’s head coach admitted on Friday the Canaries’ squad were facing a potential relegation scrap if the ex-Dortumund II chief and his coaching staff had not took evasive action following an alarming number of early-season concessions at places like Aston Villa and Millwall.
Farke has now constructed a sturdy barrier around Angus Gunn, with Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann adding plenty of ballast alongside Swiss international Timm Klose.
That insurance policy will continue to pay dividends insists Farke, but now he has to find the right mix at the top end of the pitch to really cash in.
“We have many, many qualities, in terms of defending and possession, but we don’t have the quality to score,” he said.
“When you have a problem scoring goals then you solve it step-by-step.
“The first thing is to work on the defensive behaviour, so you can pick up some results to release any pressure.
“Otherwise you are like Hull or Reading who have to fight at the bottom.
“Then it is about helping the players to dominate the games and creating enough chances so you don’t need to worry that you are only creating one or two per game and you must take them.
“Perhaps there has only been one game when we didn’t create many and that was Wolves, where we still scored twice.
“Look at our midfield and how it has changed. We had Jonny Howson and Graham Dorrans, both scored six goals last season.
“Now in that area of the pitch, Tom Trybull has two goals, Harrison Reed, one goal, Alex Tettey and Mario Vrancic no goals. We have no player in double figures after 34 games so there is obviously a problem.
“Last season, Jacob (Murphy) and Alex (Pritchard) were scoring goals and they have both gone.”
Farke knows without a genuine goal threat City’s impressive rate of progress will stall.
“We can look at the statistics, Nelson (Oliveira) has eight goals and that is solid for a striker but not world class. We have to be honest,” he said.
“James Maddison has nine and that is pretty good for a midfield player.
“Josh Murphy four goals but all the other offensive players it is not easy. You can’t judge Dennis Srbeny or Onel Hernandez yet because they are only just here. We have sorted so many things out but we have to work on bringing the ball over the line.
“In all those 34 league games there was not one easy win, not one.
“When you want to fight for promotion there must be at least one game where you play a team from the bottom and you win 3-0 or whatever and you don’t have to be fighting until the 96th minute.
“If we can speak a little on the philosophical level, in my opinion football is the most unfair sport in the whole world. When you do figure skating or synchronised swimming the person who does it in the most beautiful way wins.
“When you run it is the quickest guy or jumping or throwing the person who jumps highest and throws furthest. Even in team sports like basketball the better team wins. In football it can be 1-0, 2-1 or whatever.
“You don’t normally win by six or seven. One goal can be so determining, even if it is the worst opponent who scores. It is one of the reasons we like the game so much.”
Farke’s squad return to training on Sunday to prepare for Nottingham Forest’s midweek visit after the trip to Barnsley was postponed.
The extended break, however, should work in Ivo Pinto’s favour, after time off to be at the birth of his child in Portugal.
“Brilliant,” said Farke. “Some topics are more important than football and the birth of a child is a great thing.
“All the lads have congratulated him and his wife.
“Normally he should return on Friday but we decided he will return on Saturday to the city. I am sure he is in a brilliant mood after some difficult weeks with his injury.
“From Sunday on he will be able to train with us.”
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