Robin Sainty: City boss isn’t one to wallow in self-pity over injuries
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:00 14 September 2019
It’s difficult not to conclude that Daniel Farke spent the summer smashing mirrors and walking under ladders.
The sight of Max Aarons limping from the pitch on Monday evening after a superb England Under 21 debut was just the latest in a procession of injuries that have littered City's season, although it does seem that this one is less serious than most of the others.
It's both ironic and hugely frustrating that a season that has produced the sight of no less than three of City's young stars performing together for England Under 21s while a fourth is now almost a Northern Ireland veteran should have produced, even at this early stage, so many setbacks.
Since Onel Hernandez's unfortunate slip on the stairs things have gone from bad to worse, with the defensive unit particularly hard hit and with Manchester City, probably the most potent attacking force in the country, and apparently the first club squad to be assembled at a cost of over a billion euros according to a recent study, about to arrive in the Fine City.
However, I suspect that the head coach will not be feeling sorry for himself, because injuries, however severe, are part and parcel of football and there is nothing to gain from wallowing in self-pity.
Of course, Farke would like to have Aarons, Hernandez, Timm Klose, Christoph Zimmermann and Tom Trybull at his disposal, but he will back those replacing them to perform just as he did when the side suffered injuries last season.
While many fans would now regard Aarons, Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey as irreplaceable, it's worth bearing in mind that each of them got their initial opportunity through injuries to others, and grabbed them with both hands.
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Of course, this time around there are experienced players like Alex Tettey, Sam Byram and Grant Hanley rather than young tyros providing back-up, but Farke will have faith in them to do the job because the whole dressing room ethos at Carrow Road is based on the belief that every member of the squad is valuable, something that was a major factor in allowing those youngsters to come in and thrive when their chances came.
Hopefully the Carrow Road crowd will also reflect that. Today more than ever it is essential that the players on the pitch get the full support of those in the stands, because it's the sense of unity and of all being in it together that has played such a big part in the renaissance at City over the last 12 months.
City had their injury problems last season as well, but rather than feel sorry for themselves they continued to be positive and were rewarded for it. Compare that mindset to that of Leeds United, who increasingly convinced themselves, if not others, that the world and his wife was conspiring against them and whose form suffered hugely as a result.
Consequently it was good to see Tim Krul taking to Twitter earlier in the week to say "Who else can't wait for the game on Saturday? Another massive test for us at Carrow Road".
It's hardly surprising that there are feelings of dread about the game amongst City fans, particularly given the injury situation, but I firmly believe that the attitude within the dressing room will be the polar opposite.
Playing against top quality teams (and they don't come much better than today's visitors), especially when you are being written off by all and sundry is something that tends to bring the best out of any genuine competitor, and we know from last year just how much fighting spirit there is in this City squad.
However, although that may prove insufficient today, as it might have done with everyone fit, it's worth remembering that the reality is that City's season will be not be defined by games against the likes of Manchester City or Liverpool.