‘It would be the same if Liverpool had to play without Mane’ - Onel return delights City chief

Onel Hernandez is closing in on a return to team training at Norwich City Picture: Paul Chesterton/F

Onel Hernandez is closing in on a return to team training at Norwich City Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City without the jet-heeled Onel Hernandez is like Liverpool missing Sadio Mane, for Canaries’ chief Daniel Farke.

Hernandez suffered a freak knee injury in a fall at home but is targeting a return to full team training in the international break.

Farke admits Hernandez's pace and direct thrust at the top end of the pitch has been sorely missed in a difficult start to the Premier League campaign.

"Yes, of course we miss Onel with his bravery and his capability to win those one against one duels to create something," said City's head coach. "He was the best goal scorer for us on the wings last season.

"It would be the same if Liverpool had to play without Mane. Of course, we missed him a lot. But like I said before, I didn't want to complain too much about the injuries and search for excuses.

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"I trust all my players and when he is out we need to find solutions. He will need some time to be on his best level because there is a difference between team training and starting a game. But he is a good lad.

"He's improving from day to day and not too far away from returning back to team training.

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"There's also small chance perhaps even before the Bournemouth game Onel is back in team training, so that would mean a big boost for us, but we have to see how it develops right now over the next days. He's not too far away."

Farke wants more output from all his attacking midfielders, who have struggled to provide enough service in the last three Premier League defeats for hot-shot Teemu Pukki.

The Finn notched six league goals in his first five appearances of the new season but has now gone three without a goal after a frustrating afternoon in the final third for the Canaries against Aston Villa.

"It's the life of a striker, where sometimes you just have to watch the ball and it goes into the goal," said Farke. "It is not like you can score a hat-trick every week, otherwise you are finishing the season with more than 100 goals. I was pleased with his workload and performances in the recent games.

"It's just a question of time when he scores again. It's quite normal and we are pretty pleased with Teemu's performances.

"We do have to work on those situations and my attacking players keeping the ball better.

"Marco Stiepermann had five shots around the opponent's box (on Saturday) and many good chances on the second post."

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