Ian Clarke: I'm feeling more positive after Premier League week one than before it started

Teemu Pukki scores City's consolation at Liverpool 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Teemu Pukki scores City's consolation at Liverpool Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

In all of Norwich City's 117-year history, there surely can never have been such positivity among fans after a 4-1 defeat.

Norwich City fans savour Teemu Pukki's second-half goal at Liverpool Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNorwich City fans savour Teemu Pukki's second-half goal at Liverpool Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I sensed a genuine feeling of surprise from Daniel Farke when he witnessed the reaction of the green and yellow army at the final whistle at Anfield on Friday.

If our head coach has trawled social media and flicked through supporters' forums in the days since, he will have seen reinforcement of the pride and optimism about the team among supporters.

I watched the game at home with family and friends. At half-time I did a quick straw poll of what final score we would take,

The general consensus was we'd be relieved to escape with a five or six goal drubbing. The worried faces said there were fears it could end up somewhat worse (yes, even that Ipswich 9-0 record could have been troubled).

Teemu Pukki celebrates his goal 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdTeemu Pukki celebrates his goal Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

We'd been encouraged by the Canaries' forward movement and creation of chances in the first 45 minutes but were concerned about the floodgates opening.

Ex-City star-turned pundit Chris Sutton gave his former club his "worst team of the week" award due to the defensive naivety and because fans had been talking about "winning the second half."

I have a lot of time for his views - but I totally disagree about the latter point.

For me, stopping the European Champions scoring in the second period, seeing Teemu Pukki getting off the mark and playing some terrific football which troubled Liverpool were all massively significant issues,

Norwich City defender Ben Godfrey thrived on the atmosphere at Anfield 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNorwich City defender Ben Godfrey thrived on the atmosphere at Anfield Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It was the first time since February 2018 - when Spurs did it - that a team had outscored the Reds on their home turf in the second period of a league game.

To have shown such application and courage at a venue where Jurgen Klopp's men had battered the mighty Barcelona and not lost for two years was so heartening.

Remember that was the youngest Premier League starting X1 for 24 years.

There were four Academy products and nine players making their top flight debuts,

Emi Buendia leads the charge for Norwich City with Virgil van Dijk in hot pursuit Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdEmi Buendia leads the charge for Norwich City with Virgil van Dijk in hot pursuit Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Tim Krul made some tremendous saves and confirmed my view he is currently very much City's number one.

Ben Godfrey grew in stature and thrived on proving himself in front of the baying Kop.

Max Aarons had been well below his best as the Reds had demolished the Canaries early on. However, he learned quickly and was a different player after the break.

Many pundits have echoed Sutton's views about City being naive.

Our new found Twitter nemesis @ChelseaRory described Norwich as "utter morons" for going to Anfield trying to play expansive football rather than shutting up shop (Well, Rory I see Frank Lampard's plan at Old Trafford worked well then...)

Well. I'd rather listen to the assessment of Klopp, who was effusive in his praise of Farke's approach.

Sky pundit Gary Neville was also firm in his view that City should stick to the principles which have got them to football's top table.

Once Christoph Zimmermann and Timm Klose are fit, I'll feel more confident about our backline.

For me, Mo Leitner and Ibrahim Amadou need to start in the engine room,

Otherwise, I'm happy with our line-up and tactics.

The contradictory nature of the analysis of City compared with big spending Aston Villa is laughable.

Clearly for many the fact that the Midlanders shelled out £140m means they are ambitious and deserve to be in the Premier League,

Let's look at some facts.

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Norwich had 42pc possession against Liverpool with 12 shots (five on target). That was the most by any team there since the start of last season. It was only three fewer shots than Liverpool had.

By comparison, Villa - who were lauded for their approach - only had 30pc possession against Spurs and seven shots - while Spurs had 30.

Tottenham had 14 corners and Villa had none.

I'm sure the mood among Chelsea, West Ham, Watford and Southampton fans will all be much gloomier after their opening fixture,

I watched a lot of the action from the Premier League's opening weekend.

I feel Man City and Liverpool will again be streets ahead of the others.

I was impressed with Burnley and Brighton. Sheffield United can be encouraged with their start (although they remain one of my tips to go down).

Newcastle shouldn't have any fears for us this weekend if our optimism after a 4-1 loss is to remain, we need to get the points tally moving.

OTBC.

Let's have another cup run

There's no doubt that Daniel Farke has put a lot of importance on a league cup run since he took over at Carrow Road.

In his first season, his team overcame Swindon, Charlton and Brentford before the memorable 2-1 extra time defeat at Arsenal in front of almost 9000 City fans.

Last season, the Canaries beat Stevenage and then won at Premier League Cardiff, which was one of those matches which signalled a real change in fortunes after a shaky start.

That was followed by a win over Wycombe and a creditable 2-1 loss at Bournemouth,

Tuesday's draw sees Norwich heading to a new stadium after they were matched with League Two Crawley.

Farke's troops will go to the 6000-capacity Broadmoor Stadium in the week beginning August 26.

It will be a good opportunity for fringe players to stake their claim and a decent chance to launch another cup run.

Chance to meet stars

I wonder how many other Premier League clubs will make three first teamers available for a midweek fans' social evening in the early part of the season?

On Tuesday August 20, 7.30pm, the brilliant Norwich City Fans Social Club is hosting a trio of players - whose names will be released nearer the time - at an event in the Top Of The Terrace at Carrow Road.

Canaries' legend Darren Eadie is compere and supporters will have the chance to ask questions and hear some of the players' untold stories.

Admission is £3 adults and £1 under 16s (pay on the door) and there will be a raffle to raise funds for the Community Sports Foundation.

Over the past four seasons, the NCFSC has raised £21,500 for the CSF.

More details on the website www.ncfsc.co.uk, on twitter NorwichCityFSC and on the Norwich City Fans Social Club Facebook page,

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