Paddy Davitt: Deconstructing Daniel. Farke and the Premier League quest
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Premier League promotion is not just a fresh challenge for most of the existing City squad. The same applies to Daniel Farke. Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt assesses how the head coach will handle the step up.
Daniel Farke joked after securing Premier League promotion against Blackburn he wanted to party before worrying about facing Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola.
The party is over. For now. What comes just around the corner is not simply a question of whether City's players can adapt to the big time. Farke's methods will also be under the microscope.
The German's calm, measured possession-based philosophy proved too good for the Championship.
A title win, an open top bus tour and the eternal gratitude of thousands of fans testify to that. Norwich did not just win the league, they did it with style and panache on a rich diet of goals and blurring motion, fused with technical grace and balletic poise.
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There was also enough steel in defensive areas to ensure all that forward propulsion was not at the expense of a porous backline built around Tim Krul.
But will the same template work against the elite?
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Can Norwich, and by definition Farke, appear quite so cavalier, quite so refreshingly honest in their approach to winning football games?
Farke opted for humour, when forced to confront the new reality, as he sat doused in champagne moments after that Carrow Road celebration against Rovers.
But the man who swapped German regional football to help transform the Canaries' fortunes - in tandem with Stuart Webber - is unlikely to reach for the autograph book when he meets Klopp on the touchline at Anfield on Friday, August 9.
The respectful way he carries himself in public should not be mistaken for weakness or softness. There are enough examples along the journey, even in a relatively abbreviated coaching spell here in Norfolk, where he has shown a ruthless streak.
Ask Nelson Oliveira or Josh Murphy or even Russell Martin for that matter.
The German would baulk at any suggestion he is a poster boy for a new breed of coach.
But in a desire to blood youth, in his fearless faith in the likes of Jamal Lewis or Max Aarons, in the focus he instilled in a group widely tipped to list around mid-table again in the Championship, he is hardly, to paraphrase Jose Mourinho, 'one out of the bottle'.
Farke is not the Special One - at least outside Nelson's county - but he is capable of plotting his own course; someone who seemingly refuses to listen or be influenced by the outside noise.
Nor is he wedded to an unbending philosophy and an unwillingness to change.
It may have been lost in the midst of time now, in the avalanche of goals from Teemu Pukki or dizzying dexterity of Emi Buendia, but Farke has a pragmatic side that was most evident in those early, troublesome days of his debut season.
That thumping loss at Millwall, when a side he put on the park was bullied into submission at the Den, forced a stark re-think.
Alex Tettey came back in to offer ballast and protection to a vulnerable backline, that soon included the newly-signed Grant Hanley.
A commitment to dominate both the ball and territory remained, but Farke, for the first time as Norwich boss, had shown he could tweak and tinker; not simply in personnel but also approach.
It is fair to assume he will prove just as adaptable in the Premier League, where Norwich cannot expect to have the same weight of possession or territory. The axis may tilt towards a counter-attacking threat, certainly against the very best. See the signing of Josip Drmic in that context.
Perhaps a more fascinating sub-plot at this stage is whether that constitutes a change of shape and formation; particularly across midfield.
Under Farke, Norwich have acquitted themselves comfortably against Premier League opponents in cup combat. Arsenal, Chelsea and Bournemouth were pushed all the way. City held the Europa League winners not once but twice before losing a penalty shoot out at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup.
At the Emirates it needed Eddie Nketiah's extra-time intervention to sink the Canaries, while Jordan Rhodes missed a gilt-edged chance in the League Cup last season to drag the Cherries into extra-time.
In glorious isolation Farke's methods against Premier League foes have proved residually effective. What changes now is the dynamic, when points, not cup prizes, are at stake every week.
When the laughter subsided in the Carrow Road press room against Blackburn, after watching his squad clinch a place at the top table, Farke insisted the manner he had previously coached at SV Lippstadt and Borussia Dortmund II was no different to the way he moulded Norwich's rise.
The difference for him was in the scale of the reaction to fresh success and the vast stakes now in play.
Expect Farke to display his pragmatic side in the Premier League, while retaining a faith in the core beliefs that have catapulted him from the lower reaches in his homeland to the richest, highest profile club league in the world.