Iwan Roberts: Waiting game for Norwich City as Daniel Farke plots new course
PUBLISHED: 19:16 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 20:17 10 May 2018
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If ever a game summed up a season it was Norwich's humiliating 5-1 defeat at Hillsborough last Sunday which brought a frustrating season to a close - one that hopefully Daniel Farke and his staff will learn from.
Let’s all hope there’s a vast improvement next season.
I said before a ball was kicked in August that after all the upheaval of last summer with so much changing at the football club I could only see a mid-table finish for the Canaries. Sadly, I was right, with Norwich finishing 14th in the Championship and for the first time in many a season, below Ipswich Town albeit on goal difference.
To make matters worse, on Sunday the one shining star of the season, James Maddison, limped off with what looked like a serious knee injury. I have to admit when the club came out with the statement on Monday that James’ knee couldn’t be scanned because of all the swelling around it I feared that he’d ruptured his cruciate ligament which would have meant at least nine months on the sidelines for him before he kicked another ball.
But we all breathed a big sigh of relief on Wednesday when the club announced the injury wasn’t as bad as first thought and he’ll be out for about eight weeks. Considering it’s the end of the season it’s not the end of the world – can you imagine had James missed eight weeks of the season?
We are going to have to wait to see whether James plays for Norwich again, but for now at least, if potential buyers come in for him this summer they know he’s going to be fit for the start of the season. Had he damaged his cruciate no club would have touched him until he’d come back and proven that it was 100pc right.
There have been some highs this season but they have been outnumbered by far too many lows and home form has been dreadful to say the least. After those two woeful performances away from home against Aston Villa and Millwall last August the team then lifted all our hopes in September by going eight games unbeaten with some terrific results away to the likes of Sheffield United, Brentford, Middlesbrough and, of course, Ipswich.
Norwich had too many draws, especially at home (eight in all at Carrow Road) and they failed to beat any of the bottom four teams in the Championship – Sunderland and Bolton took four points from them while Norwich could only draw both games against Burton and Barnsley.
We all know the team’s main problem was a lack of goals – 49 all season is dreadful. Even bottom club Sunderland scored more goals than Norwich. Daniel Farke has to rectify this in the next few weeks, otherwise it’s going to be mid-table mediocrity again next season. Daniel likes possession football, which is great, but you have to have an end product; don’t keep passing the ball just for the sake of passing, there has to be a purpose.
There’s been a lack of creativity in the team. They’ve relied far too heavily on Maddison – other players simply haven’t stepped up to the mark and taken enough responsibility for their own performances and that’s simply not good enough.
Farke has had two transfer windows and he’s got a massive one coming up now and the pressure is on him to get things right. I think the majority of Norwich supporters have been very understanding this season as they know the club is trying to go in a different direction because of the financial situation at the club.
I do think, however, that if the squad isn’t strengthened considerably in the coming weeks and if the team makes a slow start to next season in their opening 10-15 games then the supporters’ understanding will slowly disappear and I can see their patience running out – as they won’t want another disappointing season like the one they’ve just had to endure.