Paddy Davitt: City's new build comes in many parts

Teemu Pukki and Josh Sargent have led the line for Norwich City in recent games

Teemu Pukki and Josh Sargent have led the line for Norwich City in recent games - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

For those who feel Norwich City have gone from the ‘Great Entertainers’ to bottom of the bill performers, fear not, Daniel Farke shares your concerns. 

If you are being entirely accurate that ‘swashbuckling, you score three we fancy scoring four’ outlook was only really applicable during Farke's maiden Championship title success. 

A feat so unexpected but achieved with a panache and an attacking verve woven around the prodigious talents of Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki in their pomp.

Since then, or at least since the bright lights and the allure of the Premier League swiftly faded two seasons ago after a home win over Manchester City that reverberated around the globe, it has been a far more measured approach.

Another Championship title duly followed with a record-breaking number of league points but it was forged on a pragmatic defensive resolution Farke hoped would translate to the higher level. 

For many reasons well stated already that had failed to materialise. Prompting a change of shape and a renewed focus on finding a much sturdier padlock.

A first point of the campaign duly arrived at Burnley, after signs the previous week at Everton that elusive quest for genuine resilience in front of Tim Krul was perhaps within reach. 

It will take more than 90 minutes at Turf Moor to convince a corner has been turned. Which is why Farke’s desire, as well as many Norwich fans, to now see added attacking urgency may still have to wait. 

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In pivoting towards City’s work without the ball there is absolutely no doubt it has taken something away from their output in the final third. 

Pukki continues to look out of kilter, bar perhaps that razor sharp trigger move and composed finish past Watford’s Ben Foster which underlined again the type of service he thrives upon.

While Josh Sargent’s prodigious workload has not brought a goal in the English top flight.

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Further, the sight of two expensively-acquired wide players in Milot Rashica and Christos Tzolis deployed largely in small cameos prior to this international recess suggests Farke clearly has his hands full to harness that creative potential, while not jeopardising defensive solidity.  

“Success in football is always built step by step,” he said, speaking ahead of his side’s recent Clarets’ stalemate. “If you have a situation where you concede too many goals you can't work with the same force at both ends.

"In other words, I don’t believe you can say we must concentrate right now on being more solid, in terms of defending, but also on the other hand we must make sure we score many more goals.

"The first step in our situation is always to be more solid in terms of defending.

"If you are conceding on average three a game, which we had done more or less in the opening matches, you don’t turn around and say at this level, ‘We need to score five to win.’ If you find that solidity then the confidence and self belief will grow to develop the attacking side of the game.  

“I still had the feeling we have got into situations where we could have shot a bit earlier. If you don’t shoot, you can’t score. Or a chance to put a cross in, and we have players like Teemu or Josh in the box.

"Or we could be braver, when instead of a shot or a cross we decide to play a pass back. We have to ask more questions in the opponent's final third.  

“We have to add that, and it will become a focus for us. But with a bit more quality and perhaps being more convinced in the final third we could have taken more points.” 

What should excite is Farke has the raw material to embark on the next phase of his Premier League masterplan.

There may be uncomfortable parallels so far with the last Premier League tilt but the attacking resource at his disposal this time around is not one of them.

For that the expectation will be, if not a return to the era of the ‘Great Entertainers’, definitely a team who can get fans out of their seats. 

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