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Keep The Faith At Norwich

Keep The Faith At Norwich

I was talking to a mate today about Saturday`s game against Bolton.

We spoke about the first half being among the best halves of football that Norwich have played this season, arguably the best, despite not scoring.

The possession was absolute and the number of chances created, albeit not taken, was excellent. The Canaries were totally dominant. They just missed a goal.

I`ve read the comments on my Sunday piece entitled "Frustrations Continue For Norwich" and understand them. We`ve played a lot worse than that and been 1-0 up at the break before, so Yes, I was happy with the way the first half had gone.

The reasons I think were obvious and as I said previously, I couldn`t see anything other than a Norwich win at the break. The fact it didn`t pan out like that at all was bitterly disappointing. Bolton pressed a bit more than they did in the first 45 and despite dominating possession again, we couldn`t create the same level or number of chances in the second half as we had in the first.

I have to congratulate Daniel Farke on the way that he`s built a solid defence in the second half of this season, once all his players have become fit. Chatting with my mate we both struggled to think of such a solid, reliable defence since the days of Fleming, McKay, Drury and Edworthy and that is almost 15 years ago. Anybody got a better defence between then and now?

Christoph Zimmermann has been a real find. Considering he came from Borussia Dortmund II, he`s adapted very well to the Championship rough and tumble. He obviously has the physical attributes and displays a level of commitment that as a fan watching, I want to see in all our players.

The biggest problem is of course scoring goals and that has been woefully poor this term.

Chance creation has been the biggest struggle, although in the first half on Saturday, there was no problem with that, just the finishing. The fact that they struggled to play so well in the second half is a worry for me and I`m sure it worries Farke as well.

I am by nature a "glass half full" kind of chap, so will always try to look for positives in anything I`m involved in. Constantly seeking or pointing out negatives is something that I have found to be destructive in my work life when exposed to those sorts of people. I try to avoid it but certainly don`t think I wear rose tinted spectacles for everything, especially with Norwich City.

I can see what Daniel Farke is trying to do and I can see that there is a change around the team since the turn of this year. Talk of transition has been bandied around by the club a lot this season but it doesn`t stop or even temper the expectations of the fan base, me included. I`m realistic though and know it`s the hope that always kills me.

We`ve just drawn the last four games in a row, dropping 8 points. Those 8 points would`ve seen us right in the play-off mix but of course, we could just as easily have lost those games than won them. My point is that the season was and arguably is, still alive.

I criticised the Canary call caller in my article who said "if he wanted to watch German football, he`d fly to Germany" and then took a bit of stick about linking the standard of German football to the success of their national team as being "lazy at best."

I can`t agree with that because Germany made a huge investment in their youth coaching set ups after being beaten by Brazil in the World Cup Final of 2002. The changes were overseen and advised by Jurgen Klinsmann who managed the national team to a third placed finish at the 2006 World Cup before being replaced by his assistant, Joachim Low who went on to win the World Cup.

Spain did something similar after years of being in the wilderness of international football before winning Euro 2008 (beating Germany), the 2010 World Cup and then Euro 2012.

The standard of young players and the coaching they receive is directly based on the quality of training they receive in their formative years. That helps turn them into the players that will hopefully represent the national side. The success of the England youth sides in 2017 is hopefully the start of something good for England. I seem to remember reading that the FA had changed things around at youth level based on the Spanish and German models a few years ago.

Those young English players must be given a chance by their managers at club level though or it`s all a waste of time. Daniel Farke has given James Maddison and Jamal Lewis his trust and they have repaid him in spades.

Stuart Webber is of the opinion that German coaches are head and shoulders above English coaches at the moment and I know this because he told a friend of mine. He told him that their coaching methods and tactics are the best in Europe at the moment and that is why he went for a German Head Coach. German players are suited to English football due to the physicality and speed of the two games, so it`s not hard to see why we`ve gone more than a little German. The whole backroom team is also German incidentally.

So, I don`t think it`s lazy to suggest that German football is on a high at the moment and that`s why we`ve tapped into it.

Onel Hernandez looks like he`s going to be a player and showed in fits and starts on his debut that he offers pace and physicality. Tom Trybull, Christoph Zimmermann and of course, Moritz Leitner have shown that they are far from a "dire set of transfers."

Marco Stiepermann has been solid as a left back but is basically a midfielder and we`ve not seen enough of Dennis Srbeny yet but I`m optimistic - you`ve probably picked that up by now.

Marcel Franke has been the only real miss out of the German contingent but it is widely quoted by any number of British managers that signing foreign players can always be a bit of a gamble, as they have to adapt to so many things, not just the game. Franke has been loaned out and could easily come back a better player in the summer, or he might not. You can`t win them all.

So yes, not scoring enough is a big problem but so was conceding lots of goals and Farke has solved that problem. There has to be a balance and I think he`ll get it right, given time and like it or not he`s going to be given that time and that, for now, is the right decision and it`s alright by me too.


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:The Tuckster
Date:Tuesday February 27 2018
Time: 7:05PM


Tuckster. I appreciate all the work you put into articles and always read them with great interest. I am clearly of mostly an opposite opinion but do not consider it a case of positives and negatives but more of reality and misplaced optimism. My profession of 35 years especially during past 25 years often leads me not to think of being negative to clients but telling them what cannot be done or afforded due to regulations and lack of finance. The positive side always comes in doing my very best to achieve creative solutions being just about budget level. It could be regarded as reality. This is where we find NCFC at the present time. A budget getting lower as each season passes by and since the avoidable relegation 2 seasons have now been wasted. Firstly on throwing money away and now on failing to buy goalscorers or play in a way that the strikers already here get enough chances to win a game. Our home record to date is P17. W5. D 7. L5. F 17. A 17. Simply not good enough. 7 more goals would have brought 14 more points and comfortable within play offs. I am realistic and accept that the current regime will be given time but what I fail to understand is how fans expect the boring football to improve , more goals to be scored and points gained to be in with a shout for promotion without a change of approach. We have watched this tedious football nearly 7 months and it is failing without even a glimpse of change. Why would anybody anticipate improved results based on keeping on doing the wrong things ? I have purchased a season ticket yet again so I must have hope but I demand change in the approach as it is not currently working and I am getting more and more frustrated by watching us passing backwards and failing to score or win games of football. Keep the set up and change the approach.
27/02/2018 19:54:00
Hi DG, that certainly wasn’t a “you’re negative chap and I’m not” type of article and it wasn’t aimed at you. My comments about negative people I’ve worked with were with a few characters in. I don’t that I’ve met, who offer nothing in my line of business but negativity about everything. Anyway, I digress, as you point out, just seven more goals would’ve got us the points to be challenging for promotion and that isn’t really very many. I get the feeling that we are not that far away from being half decent, at least. The style of football has been mostly boring like the Bolton second half but that tantalising display in the first 45 minutes showed what it could be like. The recent games against Derby and Wolves have also shown similar displays. The steeeling of our defence has been needed and been done, now Farke must turn his attention to scoring more goals, he knows it and we all know it. He will only have a finite time to achieve that and like you I have renewed my ST. Next season there will be no excuses. Talk of transition won’t cut it this time next year, but that’s football and Farke will understand that. There will no doubt be more upheaval with further sales in the summer, probably Maddison among them and however that money is spent will be key to what happens. I’m undecided if Nelson is the best man to lead our line or not. Luckily it’s not my job to choose, although I’d take it in a heartbeat :) Thanks for reading, you’re my best customer!
28/02/2018 07:12:00
* a few characters I’ve met
28/02/2018 07:14:00
Agree will all that Tuckster. I was not thinking you were calling me negative but just trying to explain my reality in dealing with limited scope, whichI do on a daily basis and is similar to the club in many ways since the Smiffs have caused us to be skint due to running the club in a selfish and amateur way. I totally agree with you about a limited time for the current regime to solve the goal issue but my concern and I repeat myself again more than ' friends episodes ' is that if he cannot solve it after 7 months and 2 windows what is his plan for next season when as you say it is likely to be with what Hucks calls 'our only real attacking threat' Maddison. The transfer income will go towards filling the void left from lack of premier league income and we will be left with a player nowhere near Maddison class passing to a striker who currently has not been signed. If I was to dream, next season would see Martin, Naismith and Jarvis sold for decent money, Maddison to give us one more season and 2 good strikers being signed. Your best customer DG : )
28/02/2018 10:10:00
Tuckster and DG I feel that you are both so correct in your evaluation of where we are at the moment. Like you Tuckster I am a glass half full person ever hoping that we get it right, mortified that we are not in the play off mix and have little chance of making it. DG has an air of practicality that is often construed as negativity but has been proved correct many, many times. Our goal scoring achievements as highlighted by DG are more than a concern they are dire. There is no denying we need a player who can score consistently but as DG states out and out strikers rely on service from their team mates for them to finish off. It is not rocket science , the service is not there and subsequently the strikers are not scoring. Also the few chances that are created are in the main being wasted. If and when Maddison leaves Carrow Road we need to buy a quality striker. However as the old adage goes "Quality isn't cheap and cheap isn't quality" which doesn't fit the financial restraints the club seems to be under at the moment. We will probably have to rely on a promising but untried up and coming or a short term fix with a player who is no longer Premier League quality. Who knows Srbeny might be the answer (I hope he is) but we haven't seen enough of him to judge. I just hope that Webber and Farke get it right and soon. In the meantime we all still support our club and hope for the best. OTBC
Bernie H
28/02/2018 10:49:00
If/when Maddison is sold in the summer then, I’m assuming that there will be a bit to strengthen the team and the rest will keep us going for another year in salary, loan fees etc. Hopefully there will be enough money around from that sale and any others they manage to move on like Martin, Naismith and Jarvis to keep us as promotion hopefuls for another season, after that though, we’re in big trouble. Although, producing top class youngsters from our Academy now seems a Webber priority and looking at the likes of Lewis, Godfrey and Cantwell etc, we could see the sale of some of those in a few years time if promotion isn’t achieved to keep us competitive. Optimistic, I know but it’s my mindset :)
28/02/2018 11:12:00
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