Matt Howman: What if Farke’s Canaries can achieve promotion...?
Daniel Farke is maintaining the rhetoric that City were touted for a mid-table finish, so everything thereafter is a bonus as part of his strategy to keep the players focused and the pressure off, and quite rightly so.
At this stage of the season a single slip-up could appear disastrous and amongst the many qualities of this side, one stand-out has been the ability to keep cool under pressure.
With both Leeds and Sheffield United picking up a consistent stream of points, the final few games of the season are going to be nerve-racking affairs, and with City currently featuring on Sky Sports for five of their last 11 games the world is going to be watching as the top two places go down to the wire.
It is testament to Farke and his coaching team that with each and every game that has passed, City have looked better and better.
Not a single pundit gave us a chance at the start of the season and even now, there seems a view that Norwich are outperforming rather than an acceptance that after 35 games, we’ve been the best side in the division.
We are edging ever closer to a return to the Premier League, which may be a season or two too early in Farke’s project, but it’s an excellent challenge for him to have if we make it.
If he can maintain the unity across the squad and the team spirit, there is every chance we could push on and reach that next level of establishing ourselves as a Premier League team.
If Farke, Webber and the big wigs in the boardroom sat around a table in May 2018, I’m not sure a single voice would have set Farke the task of leading the division by March ‘19.
There were bold decisions made to make more use of the academy prospects, and Webber knew that he was taking a risk by signing the likes of Teemu Pukki, Moritz Leitner and Emi Buendia.
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After taking Max Passlack on loan and still having Ivo Pinto as an option, Max Aarons was probably unlikely to establish himself as a guaranteed name on the team sheet. Similarly Ben Godfrey, with Timm Klose, Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann all in the squad.
There are times when a team just clicks and it puts the fans in for one hell of a season.
The majority of City supporters will remember the 10/11 season when we finished second and in the latter part of the season, Simeon Jackson had the same golden touch that Pukki currently possesses.
There wasn’t any stars, no big transfer budget, it was the same combination of team spirit, unity and hard work which set us in good stead throughout the season.
If we do get promoted, there’s a big challenge there for Farke to carry it over into the next season.
If you were being critical there are only five, maybe six, players who would look comfortable in the Premier League (Pukki, Leitner, Tom Trybull, Aarons and Buendia). There are others in the squad who will grow and improve over the course of the season however Webber will know there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
Could they bring in five or six players for first team positions and keep that togetherness which potentially gets us promoted?
It’s a tough job but it’s also an essential one. Look at Huddersfield and Fulham, they’ve both got it completely wrong this season and are paying the price.
Again, it’s still a lot of ifs and buts, if we are a Premier League side next year we don’t want to be sitting at Carrow Road watching a fractured squad get torn apart week after week.
We have the momentum as a club that’s back on an upward curve and if messrs Farke and Webber stay with us, and keep the principles they’ve defined over the course of the year, we’re onto a winner.