Paddy Davitt: Scratch below the surface for why City is toiling
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
In the quest for answers to unpick Norwich City’s Premier League problems the danger is one looks in the wrong places.
City have not won enough games. Steve Bruce hit the nail firmly on the head when he broke down the Canaries' struggles, after his Newcastle were fortunate to escape with a 0-0 draw at St James' Park.
To do that they have to score goals, and certainly away from home, as was painfully apparent again in the north-east, they have failed miserably in that pursuit.
But is it the philosophy or the personnel at fault? Both were more than good enough to sweep to a Championship title win.
This might well be as much about factors outside the control of those shaping the club's footballing destiny at Carrow Road. Which is not meant to excuse mistakes made on and off the park.
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Certainly the two transfer windows that have book-ended Norwich's bid to beat the odds were an exercise in seeking incremental gains, with the financial imperative still paramount.
And in the recruitment of Sam McCullum and Melvin Sitti during deadline week we had another clear signal the 'Norwich way' retains youth at its core.
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With talent comes rawness and inconsistency, and to paraphrase Daniel Farke after another frustrating watch last Saturday, perhaps a lack of 'brutality' in the final third.
But this is the journey Farke and Stuart Webber have taken Norwich fans on; a cocktail of highs in the Football League and sobering reality back in the big time, punctuated by some memorable moments over these recent months.
To this point there has simply not been enough of the mundane mixed in.
The gritty, backs-to-the-wall accumulation of points when they play nowhere near as well or cohesively as they mustered at Newcastle, or Tottenham for that matter, in the club's previous Premier League away day.
Does that lessen the sense of frustration, or the scrutiny of Farke and his players' perceived failings? No.
But where Norwich find themselves over this mid-winter break, propping up the rest, is an acknowledgement the 'Norwich way' will need more time and fresh recruitment to evolve and mature. That goes beyond this season's struggles at the bottom.
It is the drive to become residually effective, not only in the Football League but the rung above. The relative lack of league wins and goals does not mean Farke's approach is flawed any more than the German managed to re-invent the wheel this time last season.
Consider James Maddison's take on the Farke project, prior to City's 1-1 Premier League away draw at Leicester City before Christmas, when Norwich became the first club in nine to halt the rampant Foxes.
Maddison is uniquely placed to judge, given he was there at the beginning under Farke and can view the latest incarnation with a degree of detachment.
"Good side, Norwich. Very good side, and I know how Daniel likes to play," he said.
"I always knew it would take time with the gaffer, because his first season was my first season in the Championship, I could see signs of us doing things that he asked.
"To be honest he didn't necessarily have the players he wanted because it was still Alex Neil's squad to a large degree. You need time and in that second season after I left it was a Daniel Farke team and they got promoted.
"I see little patterns and little signs, the messages he was saying to us that maybe the fans wouldn't have seen, and they were epitomised in performances like when they beat Manchester City.
"Playing out from the back, but the speed of the pass, the one and two touch stuff from full backs. I remember him asking for that when I was there.
"Okay you have Pukki knocking in goals but it is that team ethic.
"In the Premier League it is much harder because the quality and the defences are so much better. It's tough to get wins in the Premier League, and I'm saying that on the back of eight wins in a row.
"Everything they did last year brought them to the Premier League, but at this level you need that extra bit of quality."
Time and quality. Norwich might be short on both this season.
But the fundamentals are sound and the pulse is strong.