BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Farke is sticking to his guns
PUBLISHED: 13:09 28 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 28 September 2019
Those who have watched Daniel Farke’s patient rebuild of Norwich City would hardly be surprised to hear he intends to address an escalating concession rate by doing more of the same.
City have shipped 14 goals in their first six league games of a season for the first time since 1963 but the head coach is not contemplating a radical overhaul.
"You have to be pragmatic and think of the three points but also methodical. It doesn't make sense to try and put the ball over the stand or just protect our own goal," he said.
"We are not going to be the better side doing that, we need to control the ball and bring it into the opponents' half and then it is much harder for them to score. What we need to be is sharper, in terms of our awareness, in comparison to how we played at Burnley.
"We had so much praise last season for our defending at some tough places.
"Football is the same now as 20 years ago or 20 years into the future.
"We cannot expect to score three every match. You have to be good defensively. It is a topic for us but it doesn't help to have so many defensive injuries, plus there is the quality of the opponent at this level. Barcelona conceded four at Liverpool and West Ham have unbelievable quality in the offence.
"That clean sheet is a target for us. We are working on this, we have to work on it."
Farke will demand a substantially better start on Saturday at Crystal Palace than his players served up at Turf Moor, when they were 2-0 down after an early Burnley blitz.
"It is important, especially away, to start on the front foot. We have spoken about trying to get the best parts of our last two away games and putting them together," he said.
"How we started at West Ham without getting the goal and then we fell away a bit and it was the other way around at Burnley. For me, it's not a general concern because we know with our style and approach we are capable of picking up away points.
"Last season we were probably the best team on the road in the Championship. The first season I was here we had a club record number of clean sheets.
"I expect a different game to last week, because the approach of Palace is different to Burnley.
"What you do know is they have high quality players in the offence. We have to try and control them but tactically I expect a different game."
Top of that check list is the Eagles' multi-talented attacker Wilfried Zaha.
The former Manchester United signing was touted with a mega-money move to Everton in the summer but remained at Selhurst Park. Farke is a confirmed admirer and knows Roy Hodgson will also have the hosts fired up after conceding a 95th-minute equaliser to Wolves last Sunday.
"One of the keys is definitely to try and stop Zaha.
"He is an outstanding player who can decide games on his own and I like him a lot," said Farke. "It is important to control him but they have many offensive threats. We can't just concentrate on him and have two men defending against him all the time. We need to find the right balance, but that includes trying to stop his movement.
"I expect a reaction and while wishing Wolves good luck I would have preferred Palace had won.
"They deserved to win as well. They will be even more greedy to win against a newly-promoted side at home. When you concede in that manner so late on it can be a wake up call and we will have to deal with that. It is a situation we must handle."