Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City's 1-0 Championship win against 10-man Middlesbrough
PUBLISHED: 17:02 03 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:51 05 February 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Sweet science - Rarely have Norwich enjoyed such a composed and clinical 90 minutes at Carrow Road this season.
Rudy Gestede’s first half red card altered the dynamic, but given Daniel Farke’s squad have struggled to break down teams on home soil this campaign, two banks of four was more of the same.
Tom Trybull’s first half hit proved decisive but it was the manner of the second half control and maturity that spoke volumes.
City glided to the final whistle in what must surely be one of the most satisfying three points earned in Norfolk this season.
2. Bucks and bangs - Trybull’s new contract was announced moments before kick off at Carrow Road.
The German midfielder celebrated in style with a thumping goal to finally end Boro’s stubborn resistance with a power-packed shot that appeared to deceive Darren Randolph for pace.
Trybull arrived as a free agent and largely unheralded in this country. He fully deserves the recognition and the longer term deal.
Bar periods of absence through injury, the smooth introduction to English football and the manner of his burgeoning partnership with Alex Tettey suggest City’s recruitment strategy has come up trumps.
A few more in the same bracket would not go amiss.
3. Sorcerer’s touch - Moritz Leitner replaced Trybull just before the hour mark for his home debut.
It will have taken the more discerning Norwich fan about three passes to recognise the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has a wonderful vision and technique.
They say good players always look like they have more time on the ball.
The manner Leitner strolled about central areas, caressing and stroking the ball at times and bringing his team mates into play bodes well for the remainder of his loan stint.
You could visibly see the confidence the rest of his new pals had in the manner they looked for him to trigger probing counters.
Boro’s numerical disadvantage may have stacked the cards in the hosts’ favour, but this was a favourable first impression for the home fans.
4. All the midfielders. So many midfielders - Jonny Howson’s omission from the Boro starting line up was a huge surprise.
His Carrow Road homecoming was delayed until he replaced Patrick Bamford.
The warm applause was reserved for only one of these two former Norwich players.
Howson’s five year stint will be fondly remembered in these parts long after the rather fractious nature of his divorce last summer.
This is a new chapter for both parties.
But it would be hard to disagree City have probably had the best days of the Yorkshireman’s career. The ovation of the Barclay at the final whistle was a fitting tribute.
5. How high to raise the bar? - A fourth win in five league games is unlikely to dispel the hopes of the more optimistic Norwich fans that Farke’s men can gatecrash the play-off picture.
Given the vast sums Boro have lavished this season and the arrival of Tony Pulis, it says much that City have taken all six points from this particular Championship doubler header this season.
Farke is right to underline the relative disparity in resources and the need to temper expectations.
But continue this upward curve and there is still plenty to play for this season.
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