Remarkable Rupp and the scrap for the centre ground
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Lukas Rupp has made a ‘remarkable’ impact this season for Norwich City, but the battle for the centre ground is hotting up.
Rupp and Olly Skipp had been the preferred choice for Daniel Farke prior to the international break before a hamstring issue forced the German out of the hard-fought 1-0 Championship win over Swansea.
The 29-year-old is expected to be in contention for this weekend’s trip to Middlesbrough but with Kenny McLean, Jacob Sorensen and Alex Tettey also in the mix Farke warns the bar is getting higher.
“Many compliments to Lukas and Oliver. A lot of our success in the previous six games is down to them. They are at the heart of the game,” said Farke. “For Lukas to show this consistency at this stage is remarkable. I am pretty pleased.
“In every game you will always find some topics where they could have improved or been on a different level.
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“I remember in the Millwall game they were fantastic in terms of giving us defensive stability but Lukas also had many shots on goal. That would have been the icing on the cake. He was brilliant in how many balls he won and in the transition moments.
“But we have other options.
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“Kenny McLean played more or less every minute of the past 18 months, and he has had to wait but when he came in at Brentford he was there with a crucial goal.
“Alex Tettey is still absolutely important for us and we have (Jacob Lungi) Sorensen in the mid to longer term.”
City’s quest to establish the upper hand in the middle of the park is even more crucial in a league Farke senses has evolved since their title win in 2019.
“We are top rated in terms of possession and when we won the title we were maybe third or fourth in that category,” he said. “It is not dominating possession to win the statistic, it is to win the games.
“We want to make the game our game rather than react to what others do. We want to be on the front foot.
“But like a team against Swansea you have to accept there will be periods when they are good in possession and we have to defend with concentration. To find the balance is key.
“In this area it does feel already some teams, like Swansea and Millwall, have developed but maybe one or two other teams have gone the other way and prefer a more direct style.”