Terri Westgate: Momentum is with Farke and Norwich City but let’s stay calm
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
They say that a week is a long time in politics, and that has been more than demonstrated by the elongated election process across the pond this last seven days.
Things don’t always change that dramatically in second tier football, but Norwich’s position has certainly improved since my last column, penned after the frustrating defeat at home to Derby five weeks ago.
Since I wrote those hopeful words of patience and trust towards those who run our football club, we have remained unbeaten for seven games. This includes contests against teams who are likely to be involved in the promotion race this season. And also in spite of the continued injury curse, which again enforced Farke to make changes to the line up on Saturday.
Whether we have played at our best during this period and deserved every point is debatable; no doubt Swansea returned to South Wales disappointed with the most recent result.
However, the importance of all those late goals such as Stiepermann’s strike at the weekend, particularly when they salvaged a point from defeat, can’t be overestimated. The Championship schedule is relentless, this season more than ever, with the fixture list compacted by COVID imposed delays. Continuous defeats can send a side spiralling down the table with little time to evaluate, identify issues and develop solutions. Conversely to keep the points tally mounting as the season quickly progresses will only breed confidence and allow the team to stick to the game plan.
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Another aspect of yesterday’s encounter to bring us further hope is the introduction of more young heroes. The inspired double substitution of Bali Mumba and Josh Martin played no small part in gaining the three points. It gave the Canaries a boost of energy and invention which helped unlock the very capable Swans defence.
The strength in depth of our squad will prove invaluable this year, and the continuous conveyer belt of young talent produced by our scouts and the academy are a vital part of the club’s status and future.
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This unbeaten run has not only given confidence to the players, but also our head coach. Daniel Farke is looking the assured pro in his role, with his adept man management, astute team selection and entertaining press conferences.
He was as unproven as most of our players when it came to top-flight football, and will probably confess to mistakes made in the Premier League. Yet if failure to keep the team up caused any self-doubt is his abilities, it has not shown. He seems to have grown from the experience, and there must be many supporters in our division who have more than a sneaky admiration for the boss.
It’s not just Farke that will have the respect and envy of other teams. Between the sticks we have a world class goalkeeper who every week is making amazing stops to keep us in the game.
Arguably back to his best, Tim Krul is already winning plaudits and awards from supporters. He has more than rewarded the club who put faith in him after a series of injuries, loan moves and a short stint at Brighton. The Oranje man has found a new home, and after a slightly shaky start has become a leader on the pitch and part of the community off it. It is without doubt that the unbeaten run would not have happened without his brilliant performances.
Going into the international break this time it seems all positive for those in yellow and green. We are sitting joint second in the table and are a team in form. However yet again I ask for calm. With just 11 games played, and that unrelenting match schedule continuing into the new year, there is a long way to go.
Just as an election can’t be called until all the votes have been counted, we won’t know how good Norwich really are until the remaining 35 matches are completed and all possible points have been played for.