Farke reveals which City players hold the key to beating Wolves
PUBLISHED: 10:35 21 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:48 21 December 2019
How do you counter-punch a counter-puncher? Daniel Farke thinks he might have the answer as Norwich City look to overcome Wolves at Carrow Road.
Farke ranks Nuno Espirito Santo's squad as one of the best at hitting teams on the break in the Premier League, with the searing pace of Adama Traore and the guile of operators like Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota behind Raul Jimenez.
"They are unbelievably dangerous on the counter," said the City chief. "Solid in a defensive five and then they have four in front of that and one up top. With the likes of Traore, Jimenez and Jota they are very good in transition.
"We need to be good in possession, not to give easy balls away and reduce the amount of duels they win.
"We need to exhaust them with our possession, against the ball, because that means they have less energy to counter us. Even in our possession we have to be wary of their counters and how we can control them, especially the lads who start our moves.
"If you're good on this topic, it's definitely a key point.
"Since they won promotion back to the Premier League, I think they improved more or less from week to week and month to month.
"They have a good mix of really experienced players but also some young players and the movement in the transfer market shows the ambition. We are respectful, absolutely, but we also know that when we are good in our topics we definitely will have a chance."
Norwich's impressive point at Leicester, earned with less possession and a steady stream of chances created on the counter, underlined their own flexibility. But success still comes down to the fundamentals for Farke.
"For me at Leicester one of our key topics was we were brave enough to build and by-pass (Jamie) Vardy and (James) Maddison and make them work, rather than just pump long balls," he said. "Of course against such a top class side it's not possible in each moment to control it with possession. Against Manchester City we sat a bit deeper and we were pretty dangerous out of counter-attacks.
"But we are a side who need to be the protagonists, we need to have control over the game, we need to play football on the front foot.
"Against Sheffield United our biggest problem was we played too many long balls, more than they did. We must stick to our principles and do what we are good at - short passes, combinations, attack the opponent.
"Not just sitting deep and looking to counter.
"It helps when you score first because you can concentrate on being a bit more solid, in terms of defending, and they have to open up the game."
Farke must make one enforced change from that 1-1 draw at Leicester, with Ben Godfrey ruled out through a knee injury. Grant Hanley is in pole position to partner Christoph Zimmermann, but the City boss on Friday sounded a cautionary note.
"No, he could start. It's hard to predict if he can really play the whole 90 minutes but he can definitely start a game," said Farke, with Hanley only back after a three-and-a-half-month layoff.
"But if we take this option we can't expect miracles and that he wins the game for us all alone. It is one thing to be ready for the game but the other thing is not to put too much pressure on this guy.
"If I give him the nod I am fully convinced he delivers with a good performance."