Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-0 Premier League defeat against Burnley
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Burnley verdict after the Canaries’ 2-0 Premier League loss at Turf Moor
1. Get into 'em early
You can almost hear the gravelly, gruff tones of Sean Dyche to his Burnley players in those final moments before kick-off. The persistent mocking chants of 'anti-football' from the Clarets' support suggested there is a feeling in these parts Dyche's brand of direct cut and thrust is less than appreciated, or even cherished further afield.
Norwich have been feted for their own cultured endeavour during Daniel Farke's reign. That landmark win over Manchester City won them global acclaim and plenty of fresh plaudits. Burnley painfully and brutally delivered an early reminder at Turf Moor there is more than one way to succeed in the Premier League.
Chris Wood unleashed a one two to reward a ferocious, high pressure start from the home side. But the post-mortem will not please Farke, after he had highlighted Burnley's set piece threat on Friday.
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Wood was somehow left unmarked to navigate a way right around Tim Krul on his goalline to glance home Ashley Westwood's vicious inswinging corner.
Then moments after Alex Tettey's injury exit Wood was too sharp for Ben Godfrey to sweep home Dwight McNeil's low cross. City literally had no answer in that first quarter to Burnley's physical onslaught. That would irk Farke.
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2. Soft centre
Farke was asked on Friday whether there was any concern over the number of goals his side had already conceded in the Premier League.
Given we have heard often he 'doesn't have the players to park the bus' it is no huge surprise that Norwich have looked to carry on in the same thrilling vein as the attacking template that swept them to the Championship title.
But another two concessions at Turf Moor underlined Farke has to find a pragmatic solution.
Ben Godfrey is a superb prospect.
A star in the making but not for the first time in the Premier League he was a split second too slow to react in a decisive goalscoring moment, defending a cross along his own six yard box. Wood's second was identical to Sebastien Haller's opener at West Ham. While Sergio Aguero's trigger move also brought him a goal at Carrow Road.
In all instances you could question the poor work in wide areas from team mates to allow a dangerous crossing situation but that misses the point. It is not about Godfrey. It is about a collective defensive improvement.
Until that happens, Farke can expect more questions about City's goals against column.
3. In the interests of balance
Farke was spot on in his pre-match assessment about the identity and the togetherness Burnley have harnessed to achieve a fourth consecutive season of Premier League football.
They might not be pleasing on the eye to the neutrals but they all know their jobs and they are highly effective at what they do.
But after Wood's early brace, City appeared to clear their heads and set about matching the Clarets' thereafter in open play. Although you can argue how much that was down to Burnley's game-management. Nevertheless, Krul was largely a spectator for the most part in the final 75 minutes or so. But, alas, so too was Nick Pope at the opposite end - although Moritz Leitner's thumping hit had beaten him before it cannoned off the post back into play.
The England hopeful denied Teemu Pukki with an outstretched leg in the eighth minute when the game was goalless but that was the sum total of his meaningful work.
Inevitably the focus will settle on Norwich's lack of defensive resolve in the key moments that settled this game but at the sharp end they were unusually anaemic. Burnley's well-organised defence dug in and denied the likes of Pukki or Emi Buendia space in behind. That might be just as frustrating to Farke in the final analysis.
4. Amadou re-deployment?
Much will depend on the post-match injury assessment surrounding captain Tettey. It looked like another muscular problem the manner he dropped to the turf immediately before the sad, slow walk to the touchline.
But with Grant Hanley now fit and available to resume his season, Farke may be tempted to push the Sevilla loan signing further forward into a defensive midfield role the head coach insists is his favoured position.
Certainly against a streetwise Burnley midfield, Norwich's ball players were starved of possession for long spells. The by-product was more work for the Canaries' backline and a thankless shift for City's top gun Pukki.
Amadou failed to halt McNeil's cross for Wood to slot his second after being dragged into an unaccustomed right back berth. It is less about whether Amadou is able to do a more than passable impression of a central defensive option. We saw the answer to that question against Manchester City. More, whether Farke can extract even more from the powerful athlete in a key area of the pitch.
5. You still wouldn't be anywhere else
Norwich may have headed home pointless on this occasion, after a sore reality check, but ask the 2,300 basking in the warm autumnal sunshine if they would swap the day for the grind of the Football League? There were some great scenes outside the stadium prior to kick off with the away fans congregating in a cricket pavilion that backed onto one of the football stands. There were impromptu kickabouts on the outfield and a warm welcome from the locals.
A long trip to Turf Moor and a painful defeat contained none of the epic enjoyment that unfolded at Carrow Road the previous weekend but it still felt like an occasion; a new top flight ground and a new experience for many of those travelling support.
Retaining that sense of enthusiasm on and off the park can help sustain the Canaries in the long months ahead. Even in the tougher times, the Premier League is the only place to be.