Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 3-0 Championship defeat against Leeds United
PUBLISHED: 23:27 25 August 2018 | UPDATED: 23:27 25 August 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Quality counts
Leeds were good. Make no mistake. But Daniel Farke’s troops know they offered far too much encouragement to the unbeaten league leaders in the decisive moments.
Ivo Pinto was caught the wrong side of Ezgan Alioski, before Mateusz Klich arrived unmarked to sweep home the opener for Marcelo Bielsa’s hugely impressive visitors.
Tim Krul was then embarrassed by the power of Alioski’s strike that squeezed through a gap at his near post.
Pablo Hernandez’s whipped third was clinical, but the manner he veered around Tom Trybull would beg questions for those of a green and yellow persuasion.
This was a graphic illustration of the levels in the Championship between the also rans and the promotion contenders. Right now, City occupy the former category. Sadly.
2. Keeping it cool, Krul
Daniel Farke stated it would be ‘another three seasons’ before we saw the same type of error from Krul that gifted a Jay Rodriguez a long range goal in the first home league tussle of the new season against West Brom.
Alioski’s strike in the first half was not in the same category. Not even close, but Krul himself would know getting beat at your near post will prompt further scrutiny of the club’s summer signing.
The Dutchman had no luck whatsoever when he parried Alioski’s initial header for Leeds’ first goal. He was also secure and solid in the midweek win over Preston.
Not forgetting the super save to foil Leon Clarke at Sheffield United, but when you face the best in this division, City need a reliable last line of defence.
One step forward, one back at present.
3. Top man, Thommo
Not the return to the Championship Louis Thompson would have wanted. But given his horrendous double Achilles injury nightmare there was a lovely symmetry his first start back in Norwich’s midfield for a league encounter came against the club he had his last.
The fact you have to go as far back as Leeds’ 3-2 win at Carrow Road in November 2016 illustrates how much of his career since has been spent on the operating table or in rehab.
Thompson spoke candidly about the dark days earlier this summer as he was forced to make the long march not once but twice to get his career back on track.
That might put the manner of Norwich’s defeat in proper context. Thompon has had tougher days and the fact he is now a genuine first team option for Farke is a credit to the lad himself and City’s medical and sport science staff.
4. Bottle that first 15
Academic now of course given Leeds’ power surge and some more self-inflicted errors from Norwich, but the manner they set about the task must be the template from here.
The palpable frustration among many who turned up for Preston was a continuation of this patient possession without any punch, as City built the play from deep through central areas.
Yet from the off, Moritz Leitner was noticeably further forward, Ivo Pinto pressed high and Leeds looked genuinely uncomfortable as the hosts forced a number of early corners.
There was pace, energy and intensity about Farke’s side. That is the tempo they need on a routine basis, not simply to try and counteract the league leaders and promotion hopefuls.
They will certainly need it at Portman Road.
Norwich have the perfect pick-me-up opportunity with a first East Anglian derby tussle at Ipswich Town. Forget that League Cup long haul to Cardiff City in midweek.
Take the temperature of the Canary Nation and maintaining derby dominance ranks far higher than cup progress.
Farke faces a dilemma when it comes to his selections for the trip to Wales.
The chances of making it 11 and counting since Ipswich savoured a win over their bitter rivals would appear to increase if Farke opts to rest his key personnel.
Worth pointing out, Town’s new boss Paul Hurst is still waiting for his first victory after slipping to defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Norwich to make it even more uncomfortable at Portman Road.
Should Hurst secure his first three points at City’s expense, the reaction to defeat against Leeds will pale into comparison.