BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Daniel Farke summons spirit of Scrooge ahead of Nottingham Forest duel
Scrooge is one Christmas fable Daniel Farke is more than happy to see endure on his watch, when it comes to Norwich City's defensive approach.
The Canaries’ shut out at Blackburn on Saturday was a welcome addition to the free-flowing attacking football and late goals that have swept City into the Championship promotion picture.
Staying there will require many more clean sheets insists the head coach, ahead of Carrow Road festive tussles against Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day and Derby.
“To have seven clean sheets (before Blackburn) is a solid base but we want to be close to perfection,” he said. “We want to dominate the ball. We want to try and be attacking, to score goals, to be brave, but also to control the counters.
“It was important our defensive row was concentrated at Blackburn. That was a key part of the win.
“It is not so much always to do with the defensive behaviour. At Bristol their chances came from sloppy passes when we were in possession.
“You beat Millwall 4-3 and that is great but we can do better. When you are a side with the lowest number of goals conceded in the league you can be sure you will be in a good position in the table.
“In this respect only Leeds and Middlesbrough are doing better of the teams at the top.”
Farke would have no qualms pushing Mario Vrancic’s claims for a start if Moritz Leitner and Emi Buendia are ruled out.
Both have received intensive treatment since early exits at Blackburn with Buendia suffering a dead leg and Leitner an ankle knock. Vrancic replaced the German and teed up the move that led to Teemu Pukki’s late winner.
“If a player is 90 minutes or 45 minutes or 90 seconds on the pitch then try to give your best to help the team. Mario was there with a really, really strong second half. He played a key role,” said Farke.
“The second last pass to Onel (Hernandez) before we scored the goal was crucial.
“Emi had a dead leg. So it is more a question of a few days but when you have four games in 10 days it could be he is out for this whole period. We’ll wait and see how it develops. Our physios will work night and day to get him fit but he is a major doubt.
“Moritz was out for three weeks with a calf injury and then he got a hit on his ankle with a nasty tackle. Let us see what the scans tell us.”