BUENDIA: Farke lays down challenge to City ace
PUBLISHED: 14:42 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:18 21 February 2020
Daniel Farke has left Emi Buendia in no doubt what is required to get him and Norwich City firing for the Premier League run in.
Buendia has been used from the bench in the past two league games after a quad injury but Farke, speaking at Colney, insisted he still has to convince him he is ready to resume his place in the starting line up ahead of Sunday's trip to Wolves.
Here was the full seven-minute transcript of what Farke had to say on the Argentine maestro.
"Emi is always in my thoughts. Believe me there is no one here in this room who knows how good Emi is and how big his potential is. I can still remember the situation last season, we found it quite complicated and difficult to win games when he was not available.
"When he was sent off or had a little injury. I know the impact Emi Buendia can bring. But there are two things we also have to bear in mind. This is a different level and the second thing is Emi is still an unbelievably young lad who is still developing and who has never played in the top tier in his career before.
"He was in the Spanish second tier, then he played with us in the Championship and now he is the best league in the world. All I can say is right now I am pretty pleased with Emi's season. He was fantastic at the beginning. Then he had a period when he lacked some workload against the ball and some tactical discipline and for that he had to wait a bit on the sidelines.
"Then he showed a perfect reaction and responded so well but sadly he then had this little setback with an injury that kept him out for two and a half weeks and now he finds it a little bit difficult to get back to this level. That is quite normal for a young player. It is also important to be honest and to protect him a bit.
"I work with him each and every day and I can only bring him back in when he is at his best level. If he is only 95pc then you can bring him back in the Championship and he can make the difference but at this level let's be honest when he is not 100pc it is not possible. When we brought him in at Newcastle, and this not to accuse him, but our game was poorer when he came off the bench.
"I studied him before the Liverpool game in training and I have this feeling he is not there with his 100pc best. To bring him in against a Liverpool two with the two best full backs in the world in (Trent) Alexander-Arnold and (Andy) Robertson, they are unbelievable, we got the feeling it was not the right moment.
I am totally happy with his season. It is quite normal for a young player operating in the Premier League he is there with ups and downs in his first season. Everyone knows about his potential. Emi wants to be in the spotlight in each and every game. He has been fantastic in many topics.
"His ability to assist. He has seven, that might not be world class at this level, but for our level it is the top and the best of all our players in these terms. His ability with key passes, top drawer.
"You can also speak about his ability to win the ball back, which doesn't get mentioned very often, his pressing is good and he can win the ball. But on the other side, and I am being unbelievably honest, there are other topics where he has to improve. We have 26 game days and he has no goals. There is space for improvement.
"Or several losses of the ball and sometimes he lacks that ability to run in behind and add that to his game. He has to improve. Probably the most important topic is not so much about the individual elements, but the success of the team. The point average in the starting line up when he plays is the worst of any of our wingers.
"I don't say this to accuse Emi, I am totally happy with him, but we are not talking about (Lionel) Messi at Barcelona.
"If he only has one fit leg you still put him on the pitch. Emi in a few years can reach this level but at this moment he needs to be 100pc to make the difference.
"If he does this, then he can. But at 95pc he doesn't make the difference. Believe me, no one is more tempted than me to bring him back into the starting line up. I know about his potential and his ability. But I also have to protect this player and he will come back when he is unbelievably sharp, when his tactical behaviour is good, his work without the ball, and on the ball at his best.
"We work a lot with him in training. This is not about accusing him, but sometimes I have to protect young players or they can lose the trust of their team mates.
"It is not about individual awards or assists. We have to be successful as a team. When I get the feeling he is ready, he will play."