Canaries out to prove they are no soft touch
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The gushing praise from Premier League rivals is wearing a bit thin even for Norwich City boss Daniel Farke.
Mikel Arteta was the latest top flight opponent to hail the Canaries as a ‘joy to watch’ ahead of Saturday’s Emirates meeting of the bottom two.
That follows the same pattern from both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, before the previous and current Premier League champions set about confirming the established order.
Farke took the Spaniard’s fresh compliments in the right spirit, but aims to turn up the heat on the under-fire Gunners’ boss on his 200th game in charge.
“It would be better if he had said a joy to watch and also unbelievably horrendous to play against. That would be the ultimate praise,” said the City head coach. “When such an expert praises your style and your club, it's always a compliment.
"I don’t take it as saying we are easy to beat. It's more like a true opinion. But in football it is about the result and being effective.
"If it was about being a joy to watch we might as well do synchronised swimming. We want to be effective and bring points to the table, and we can improve.
“I am not in the position to comment on the circumstances at any other club. I won’t judge. I think he's a fantastic guy.
"I've met him several times and he has unbelievable football knowledge, and unbelievable experience. He tries to bring his values and his handwriting into the club.
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"In this business there's always pressure. Mikel knows this.
"He has played for some of the best clubs in the world and he has handled this as a player and, believe me, he won't crack under any pressure as a coach. He's much too smart and too intelligent.”
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Farke has proved his durability to clock up a notable personal milestone.
“If I'm really honest these last days were really hectic, so I was not even thinking about it,” he said. “I am following how Josh Sargent is getting on in the middle of the night, whether he is starting, how many minutes does he play?
"I was worrying which international players we are going to have available. I was not thinking too much about what has happened to me in the past. But yes, of course, it is definitely a remarkable number.
“I am unbelievably grateful, thankful and humbled that I'm allowed to work in this responsible role for this amazing club. I know it's not normal to have this backing and trust and support, especially in this business. It is not normal nowadays you are in charge for 200 games as a manager.
"I'm really grateful and thankful for the people I'm working with, and I hope I am allowed to be here for a few more games.”
City sit one place above Arsenal in the early standings, courtesy of Teemu Pukki’s penalty in the 2-1 home defeat to Leicester City. Farke is in no doubt Arsenal are only heading in one direction.
“When you have injuries to key players, or a Covid situation at your club, sometimes hands are tied for the manager,” he said. “Liverpool had many injury problems last season and it was a struggle for them. Mikel has fantastic ideas about football and you can see he has worked with Pep Guardiola.
"Without judging the Arsenal situation directly I believe he will have a great career as a manager.
“We want to be competitive and get off the mark at the Emirates but we are also quite respectful that Arsenal has an unbelievable amount of quality players.
"I watched the first game against Brentford and there was no (Martin) Odegaard, no (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang, no (Alexandre) Lacazette. (Bukayo) Saka had only returned from holiday.
"It is fine margins and a few per cent in this league and any team would struggle without those players. I expect Arsenal to have a good season. We are not the favourite in this game. But it's opportunity for us to get a positive result.”