Farke’s robust defence to City’s critics
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Norwich City’s Championship title win showcased Daniel Farke’s alchemist’s touch but addressing the Canaries’ Premier League issues will take more than a magic wand.
Farke is the first to accept defensive vulnerability needs to be eradicated to build on the genuine encouraging signs from the first eight league battles.
"It is not only defensive areas. In football all topics are connected with each other," he said. "Against (Aston) Villa our passing quality and accuracy was not perfect, even some of our best technical players had unnecessary losses of the ball.
"We have spoken as a group about how it is not just one button you need to press, it is more like we are always working on many topics at the same time. You don't press a button and you are solid at defending.
"You have to improve step by step.
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"We have to reduce the goals conceded or we will have big problems. I agree we have conceded too many.
"It was the same 20 years ago and it will be the same 20 years into the future - you always have to be solid in defending in order to be successful.
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"It is not easy with our squad and so many injuries to ask players to step up for debuts or play out of position, or someone like Ben Godfrey to play through pain. When you do not spend a lot of money you need your squad to be fit and switched on to be competitive at this level."
City's brittleness has been ruthlessly exposed away from Carrow Road all season since losing 4-1 to Champions League winners Liverpool.
"Sometimes you just go through a period with difficult away games, like Liverpool or West Ham. We have had really tough away games with so many players injured," he said. "I'm pretty sure we will add points on the road because we need to do this.
"It's still 11 against 11 and we're not scared to play away.
"When you analyze our goals, there was not one this season we conceded because we were out-numbered in defence. Also, we are praised a lot for our bravery with attacking full backs.
"Some people feel we are vulnerable in wide areas because of that but not one goal has been conceded due to the full backs being in too high a position.
"I would look more at individual defensive behaviour, in terms of our positioning, and of course we have to step up and find solutions as a team."
Farke predicts Bournemouth will be just as obdurate under the astute Eddie Howe.
"I think he's done a fantastic job over recent years with real quality," he said. "You can see the club growing and improving each season. He's made Bournemouth a permanent member of the Premier League and a club who really stands for a special philosophy and a special style of playing.
"We are slightly different to Bournemouth but in that regard they can act as a role model of how to improve from year to year and also to accept that perhaps the first and the second year at this level are unbelievably difficult.
"There are some lessons you have to learn, some tough days but they were always relaxed, calm and focused on what they're doing. We are different in our approach but they've done a fantastic job there.
"We have to be at our best to gain some points but one thing is for sure, we're not driving there because it's a lovely place or the coast is nice.
"We know we are still not quite there in our best condition in terms of injuries."