‘They are not stupid’ - Farke’s frank admission on City stars

Christoph Zimmermann marked his return from a foot injury with a stirring display in Norwich City's

Christoph Zimmermann marked his return from a foot injury with a stirring display in Norwich City's 2-0 Premier League win against Everton Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Daniel Farke hailed the impact of ‘heroic’ Christoph Zimmermann after he inspired Norwich City to a vital 2-0 Premier League away win at Everton.

Farke rarely heaps praise on his players but made an exception for the influential centre back, who played the full 90 minutes at Goodison Park after returning five weeks early from a serious foot injury suffered on his top flight debut at West Ham in August.

Zimmermann and Ben Godfrey were key to a first away league victory in a season, to this point, defined by a chronic catalogue of injuries in central defence.

"I don't want to praise him too much because he will get plenty in the media and from fans," said Farke.

"He is an unbelievable hero but Christoph is the type of character that can handle such praise. He will never lose the ground under his feet.

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"Christoph deserves to be in the spotlight because he worked so hard to be back weeks ahead of schedule. He is massive for us.

"It is important to have Ben and Christoph back and fully fit. You could see it also enabled me to change to a three man formation at the end because I had the players available to alter the balance and keep the pressure away from our goal. From now we deserve a bit more luck in this area."

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Zimmermann is going to be vital to City's survival prospects.

"It is no coincidence that we have kept a clean sheet or that he was a big part of what we did last season," said Farke.

"If I am honest when you have to play without your club captain, Grant Hanley, without your most experienced player on this level, Timm Klose, and without Christoph, who was our leader last season when he was unbelievable, it is not easy.

"The injuries defensively were a massive problem for me but you can't keep mentioning it in public too much, because you need to keep the players going and to give them trust. They are not stupid.

"They know like I do that you need a solid defence to be stable so during the international break it was a big boost to see Ben and Christoph fully fit.

"This was more or less the first time we could play the lads in their best positions, people like Alex Tettey and Tom Trybull, who are important for our midfield balance. You sensed the lift it gave the rest of the lads.

"The mood was good before we even travelled."

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