Impassioned Farke lays into City critics

Daniel Farke launched a strong defence of his Norwich City ahead of Watford's Premier League visit

Daniel Farke had plenty to say on Norwich City's critics ahead of Watford's Premier League visit - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Daniel Farke launched a staunch defence of his Norwich City players ahead of Watford's weekend visit to Carrow Road after a winless Premier League start.

The City head coach delivered a 13-minute monologue on Friday afternoon spanning the criticism of his Championship-winning centre backs Ben Gibson and Grant Hanley, to Lukas Rupp being a target for the boo boys, and those who feel Teemu Pukki is 'too poor and too old' to lead the Canaries' Premier League charge.

Here is the key parts of Farke's transcript from his Colney right of reply.

GIBSON 

My centre backs were criticised a bit after the first games for conceding a few goals. They are not good enough for the Premier League. But it is important we stay positive, stay respectful and remember what these lads have done for this club. 

Ben, I have worked quite long in this business, but I have never worked with a centre back who is as good in his build up play.

He is outstanding with his left foot. What he does in the dressing room, even if he is not playing, he acts like a captain with his personality. He is smart in his tactical movements.

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It doesn’t mean he is involved in every game. He was left out at Arsenal, but that doesn’t mean we can criticise him for the games before. We should be proud we have a player like Ben Gibson. 

HANLEY 

Grant is a massive rock for us last season. Our club captain. So important for us. Of course as a defender, when the team concedes goals you are sometimes involved. But it is important we are not critical.

We need these player to lead. You can go through each and every position. It is more difficult to keep clean sheets and shine like he did in the Championship.

RUPP 

I know he is not a fan favourite. Sometimes there are some groans when he is in the starting line up but believe me if you would ask the players who train with him every day he would be the first player on the team sheet. 

No other outfield player has the experience he has at the top level, or covers more ground than Lukas, or wins back more possession at this level than Lukas.

If you watch the Arsenal game carefully the number of defensive situations he repaired, or how often he won the ball back, it was Oliver Skipp level. With all respect to him, I know Lukas is not playing sexy football like Cristiano (Ronaldo).

He is LR7, not CR7. He is not Emi Buendia, with his magic touch and back heels who gets supporters out of their seats. He is more like an unsung hero.  

PUKKI 

29, 11, 26. These are the numbers of goals he has scored the last seasons. I don’t want to discuss if he is the best striker in the history of this club. I leave that with the experts. But there is no doubt he is one of the best strikers this club has ever seen.

This player stuck with us when he had other opportunities after relegation.

His blood is already pretty yellow. He always delivers an unbelievable workload and he is thinking about the team with his pressing. I was a striker, it is difficult if you play a Manchester City to just run after the ball all day.

I am struggling to accept any comments that he is too poor, he has to be dropped, he is too old. I look at a player like Jamie Vardy. He also had a bit of a dry spell before we played them. Leicester lost 4-1 (against West Ham) and he gave the ball away for one of the goals.

I was watching that game and I remember one of the pundits said, 'it was a Vardy mistake and how can you lose the ball there?' But I didn't hear one Leicester fan after the game saying he is not good enough. Or he has to be dropped.  

It was not even a question. They back him and then within minutes at Carrow Road he scores a goal. If we start to question our best players, our players who have delivered for us as a club, then you begin to see who this club has failed to establish itself on Premier League level.

That doesn't mean these players are always in the starting line up. But what we have to make sure is we stay positive, we back them and we show them respect. At Premier League level it is more difficult for Teemu to shine than in the Championship. 

It is not a complaint. I know 95% of our supporters can judge it in this way. But if we want this club to become established in the Premier League then 95% is not enough. We need 100%. With our model this is a special club and we need to be special in creating the right atmosphere.

If Leicester City is capable of doing this I want us to try and be positive.

If I play Bali Mumba instead of Max Aarons in the next game and you think this is a c*** decision, then okay, but once I play Bali it is important once his name is announced on the team sheet he feels that backing and support from all the crowd. 

We need this atmosphere that we are united, and all positive for every home game. Our supporters were fantastic against Liverpool and Leicester because they realised we were facing top class sides and we needed to be spot on.

The away fans did this at Arsenal and it helped us be competitive. But we have to be spot on for these type of games, against a Watford, not coming with an attitude this is a must-win or if they are not 3-0 up in 30 minutes we are in a bad mood.

This team needs our support even more in these type of games. It is easier against Liverpool but we need it more against Watford. I am asking our supporters. Not just 95% of them, but everyone.

I tell you what. I totally trust these players. Every single one. And we need them all to achieve what we want. My gut feeling is we were struggling with this trust and backing ourselves in the past decades at this level to go our own way with our model. 

If we start moaning, start asking why we can't sign £30m players, all I would say is why can't we try a different way, with a different set of values. My gut feeling is, if we are 100% united, not only 95%, we have a chance to create a mentality that can keep us in the Premier League. 


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