Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City's 2-1 Championship defeat against Brentford
PUBLISHED: 12:31 23 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:31 23 December 2017
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Where to start? - Norwich City look a team in name only. Seeking solace from sporadic upturns in performance is scant comfort when you have won one of the last 11.
A dressing room reportedly riven by unrest at Daniel Farke’s training regime. A head coach who looks out of his depth and an increasingly vocal fan base directing their frustration towards the majority shareholders.
Merry Christmas, one and all.
This is a malaise, not a work in progress. Norwich could do with making Red Adair their first signing of the January transfer window.
Farke put himself forward to take the brunt of the criticism, following another fruitless exercise against Brentford at Carrow Road. That is a commendable display of personal responsibility but it needs a collective look in the mirror over these coming days. The stench of failure is rife.
2. Boardroom heat - No longer a topic to be whispered in hushed tones.
The lack of progress from City’s bold, fresh approach and the changing face of football ownership in the Championship mean the searing focus on who holds the reins at Carrow Road will only intensify.
We all know the parameters and how this debate is framed.
On one side of the divide, those who extol the virtues of passionate, committed owners with a loyalty to the community and a desire to be there in good times and bad.
On the other, a growing thirst for super wealthy backers, where the back story or the nationality is secondary to the size of the wallet required to compete at the right end of the English game.
That in essence is the inherent struggle for the future direction of the football club.
Those fans who turned their anger towards the majority shareholders in the closing stages will hardly fall silent if matters on the pitch continue to head south.
3. Time to step up, Daniel - Let’s put any number of off-field issues to one side and focus squarely on City’s intelligent, likeable, honest head coach.
Farke’s assertion his players were too nervous, due to his errors in preparation, smacks of naivety.
The reluctance to restore Alex Tettey and Tom Trybull to his central midfield smacks of stubbornness.
Harrison Reed and Mario Vrancic offered no protection to City’s harassed centre backs in the first half against the impressive Romain Sawyers and Lasse Vibe. The outcome was inevitable.
Norwich lack energy, intensity and nous where it matters. The obsession with ‘building the play’ merely induces frustration amongst the home support. They are too easy to play against and too predictable to counter.
This is Farke’s remit. Faith in youth is one thing, but experience is needed right now.
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4. With one exception. Jamal Lewis - The teenage full back will never forget his senior debut. His introduction raised the biggest cheer of a fractious evening. Farke has almost spoken in reverential tones about his potential.
The head coach would hardly wish to expose him to such a negative environment at present.
But even allowing for his relative youth and inexperience, Lewis can hardly look as out of place as Marco Stiepermann.
The lack of positional sense and awareness of his surroundings was evident again before Farke mercifully ended his night early. Stiepermann has been asked to do a job. He is not the only one failing.
But Norwich look vulnerable week in, week out down their left flank.
If this really is the brave, new world City’s fans have been sold then Lewis could be the embodiment in the weeks ahead.
5. Nerves? Of the steel variety - Farke’s post-match disclosure the magnitude of the occasion and even the nerves had got to his players should induce a degree of nauseous anxiety ahead of festive trips to Birmingham and Burton.
If Brentford at Carrow Road triggers fear then two clubs battling for their very survival carries the potential for fresh heartache.
This is about a mindset now.
Farke has to realise if the rot continues over the New Year his under-performing squad is in a scrap for survival.
There is precious little evidence of late they have the fighting spirit or the will to prevail. This is not about the best technicians at Farke’s disposal now. This is about who has the heart to grind out results. To do whatever is necessary. To be streetwise, not a soft touch. That applies to Farke and his coaching brains. Norwich City on his watch are too nice. We need to see a nasty streak.
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