City on Tour: Ducking for cover and relying on Pukki and Emi’s shooting accuracy
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Our guys are out in Germany covering Norwich City’s tour. Paddy Davitt delivers the latest postcard from life on the road.
Imagine my horror as out of the corner of my eye, while a seated Daniel Farke mapped out his Premier League vision to me, I saw Teemu Pukki shaping to fire balls into the net we are sat directly behind.
Granted, the chances of the 30-goal player-of-the-season missing the target and carving a ball or two over the bar and dangerously close to the back of his head coach were fairly slim.
But I knew it was time to wrap up my chat before the open training session started in earnest. Farke is by some distance the most accessible manager, coach or head coach (delete as appropriate) I have had to deal with in my time covering the Canaries.
No question is deemed too unreasonable, no interview request too onerous.
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Even one where his personal safety was in my hands, as he sat with his back to the goal a few metres away from where Pukki, Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell were lashing balls goalwards as City's development keepers tried in vain to block shots from close range.
In the course of the preceding interview, Farke spoke on a range of topics from how he had dealt with the calm after the storm of a Championship title.
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The moment was savoured over the summer but practically in the next breath he was talking about summoning the energy and drive to go again; to try and scale a new peak. Stuart Webber used that mountainous analogy minutes after promotion had been sealed against Blackburn.
It seems as apt now as it was then, with Farke's slightly re-modelled squad taking shape and the release of the Premier League fixtures bringing home the full enormity of that challenge.
Later in the same interview, when I pointed out the growing strength and power of the English top flight to produce all four finalists in the two major European club competitions last season, Farke insisted respect not fear would be the driving force for him and his players.
That has to be the mantra. City will take their fair share of beatings you suspect, where the margin for error is infinitesimally small and the scale of the punishment harsh. But they have to stick true to their principles and the core values. They have to remain fearless.
Just like Farke as the balls rained around him with only a flimsy netting for safety.