Philipp Lahm, Joshua Kimmich, Harrison Reed. Norwich City loanee keeping good company
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke tipped Middlesbrough for Championship promotion before a ball was kicked. Now he reckons Tony Pulis' arrival makes them even more formidable.
Farke is relishing the challenge at Carrow Road on Saturday, but ranks the Teessiders as the benchmark in the second tier.
'Before the season started if you asked me who were the top favourites for the title, I would have said two - Wolves and Middlesbrough,' he said.
'They have spent lots of money in the offensive areas and did lots of business in the last window and brought in really high quality.
'They also have an experienced coach and really want to get back in the battle for promotion.
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'I am full of respect. His work in the recent years speaks for itself.
'His teams are always well-structured.
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'You can see a small change of style in the way Middlesbrough played under Garry Monk and how he wants them to play.
'They are a bit more focused on defence, working against the ball.
'It is quite difficult to create chances and score goals against them.
'That is a good combination when you have quality in attacking areas and a coach who can add that organisation against the ball. I am looking forward to meeting him.'
MORE: Have your say on our Pinkun forumFarke confirmed on Friday Ivo Pinto remains out with the knee injured in a freak accident climbing out of his car. Harrison Reed grabbed his chance at Brentford and the City head coach has no fears repeating the experiment.
'I was not surprised. He's intelligent and reads the game really well – he's good technically, he's aggressive and runs well on the wing too,' said the City head coach.
'Harry was really good at Brentford, but it's what I expected. Holding midfielders can often adapt really well to playing at full-back, and he enjoyed the challenge. It helps to have an experienced guy like Grant Hanley behind him.
'We had the same in Germany, with Philipp Lahm and Joshua Kimmich.
'They started as holding midfielders and the biggest part of their career they were in the full back position.
'It is possible to do it that way around.
'Ivo's much improved, and we thought he'd be available but we've still got the feeling it's a bit of a risk as he still feels a bit of a pain in his movements.
'I hope he can return next week.'
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