Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City's 1-0 Championship win at QPR
PUBLISHED: 23:51 22 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:49 23 September 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Loftus Road
1. That was the week that was
Well, well. Cast your minds back a week to just before kick off against Middlesbrough. There was a genuine sense of unease swirling around Carrow Road at the prospect of trying to halt the upwardly mobile Teessiders and inject some thrust into the Canaries’ campaign.
Fast forward three games, three wins, nine points and the possibilities are boundless.
The scenes at final underlined the confidence, the pride and the energy flowing through the players and the 1,500 or so fans in attendance at Loftus Road.
City of course have to build on this platform, but after some faltering early season steps they are looking onwards and upwards. Credit to all concerned.
2. Pukki the Great
Daniel Farke agreed when it was put to him after the Reading win, Teemu Pukki could prove the steal of the summer transfer window.
His latest match-winning effort here demonstrated how astute a piece of business it looks.
The improvised chested finish past Joe Lumley after anticipating Marco Stipermann’s deflected pass was the act of a man at the peak of his powers.
An eighth goal in 12 for club and country is a quite stunning return. This is more than a purple patch, this a talismanic figure who is propelling Norwich’s season forward.
3. Consider yourself told, Todd
Dereham’s finest got the nod again from Daniel Farke. That in itself was a huge vote of confidence after his breakthrough league debut at Reading. But Tim Krul delivered a different message entirely shortly after Cantwell had played his part in Pukki’s chested goal.
What can only be labelled an impetuously naïve decision to chip a pass out of his own penalty area was intercepted by the hosts, who failed to cash in.
Krul raced from his line to berate the youngster.
Stiepermann appeared to offer a consoling word but it was pertinent reminder the prodigiously gifted attacking midfielder must learn when to play and in which areas on the park. That will come with experience.
4. Smooth Stiepermann
The assist may be taken off him, given it flicked off a QPR defender before spiralling in Pukki’s direction, but this was another composed shift in a central midfield role that appears tailored for the tall, elegant German.
The willingness to take the ball in tight areas.
The running ability to relieve the pressure at times in the second period and the physicality to mix it when required suggest he has a little bit of everything to flourish in the Championship. Long may it continue.
5. Who needs Toni Leistner
The QPR captain was heavily linked with a move to Norfolk as he ran down his contract with FC Union Berlin. That ship passed him and the Canaries by.
Leistner certainly looks the park. The tattoos and rippling muscles allied to his relish of an aerial scrap were worthy of respect.
However, the QPR powerhouse on this showing appeared limited in possession and vulnerable to pace.
Farke said pre-match he would not swap his centre backs for Leistner.
Given the manner Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann stood up to everything the hosts could muster, neither would any Norwich fan.