Farke unveils his three steps to football heaven
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke’s lockdown period produced an even greater belief he can guide Norwich City to Premier League safety.
The Canaries host Southampton at an empty Carrow Road on Friday looking to take the first step towards avoiding relegation.
Farke knows the scale of the task but has mapped out why he feels so bullish, as football resumes in the strangest of circumstances due to the impact of the global pandemic.
“We are the underdog without any doubt. We have the lowest points total and we are in the worst position of any competitor. We are not naïve,” he said. “But my feeling is 100pc we believe we have a chance.
“You need a few ingredients. You need to be physically prepared, and the players have worked so well during this lockdown period. Secondly, you need a special bond in the team. Thirdly, you need a winning mentality, you don’t crack under pressure.
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“We proved this last season in the crunch time when we had lots of pressure on us.
“We were 16 unbeaten and we were there when it counted. We have also had two occasions this season when I think we had to win.
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“That was Bournemouth and Leicester at home. Without that we are 10 points adrift and you cannot deliver on this level with that gap. Plus you look at the cup games.
“Other clubs have more quality and more money but we have a different mindset.”
Farke knows events around the world in recent times underline what really matters, with the impact of the virus across society, and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests sparked by George Floyd’s death in America.
City’s players and backroom staff will echo the symbolic ‘taking a knee’ gesture powerfully adopted prior to kick-off at both Aston Villa and Manchester City earlier this week.
The ‘Black Lives Matter’ slogan will also replace names on the back of players’ shirts.
“It is great the Premier League and the players and all those involved are making such a strong statement. It is the right decision and I totally back this,” said Farke. “We should be a role model as a professional sport.
“We have a great voice and the stage to support this unbelievably important topic. It feels ridiculous that in our times we even have to discuss such things but we must all stand up and show our attitude. We are all human beings.”
City’s relegation rivals Aston Villa’s goalless draw with Sheffield United was marred by the failure of goalline technology to award the Blades a first half goal.
Farke down-played the potential significance to his club in the final relegation reckoning.
“When you think you have seen everything in football you are surprised by a new thing. A ridiculous situation,” he said. “There was a failure of the technology, or the humans using the technology.
“When it affects you, and for Sheffield it was a big blow, it is also hard to accept.
“We can’t moan. We still have nine games to go and we are not sat in our dressing room praying for other results. Maybe when it gets to the last game or second last game that can happen, but this is in our hands. We can’t blame the technology.”
Farke is setting his squad a five-game winning target to push their survival bid right to the wire.
“We have nine matches and if we can win at least five we will stay in this league,” he said. “We know how complicated that is but it is still possible. This special situation is a bit like a five-week crunch period.
“I am convinced we have a chance to stay in this league, even more than before the lockdown if I am honest.”