Time to move on from Jonny Howson, insists Norwich City chief Daniel Farke
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Jonny Howson is the past. Daniel Farke wants Norwich City’s new central midfield mix to underline that point at Middlesbrough.
Tom Trybull continues to win rave reviews while Alex Tettey has enjoyed a renaissance after finally earning a recall to the ranks.
Howson got his wish to depart in the summer, after five years of loyal service, but Farke is not fretting about the Teessiders’ expensively-assembled squad.
“Jonny Howson is a great lad and an excellent player. I don’t want to speak too much about the players who have left us,” he said. “I would rather speak about the guys here and I am totally content with my lads. We have brilliant characters. All the lads I have brought on the pitch are in good shape. We played with Harrison Reed, Tom, Mario Vrancic and Alex in central midfield this season and I am happy with them. We are competitive.
“Boro are favourites for the title for me and are in good shape and have good form at home this season. But we’re looking forward to it and players always look forward to big games.
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“Middlesbrough have a really good coach and brilliant players. I am not jealous. They were in the Premier League, and they have more financial opportunities. They have a lot of individual quality and you can see the money they spent in the summer.”
Garry Monk’s side have only dropped two points at home this season, but Farke’s City is proving durable opponents of late on the road.
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“Not many people expected us to win at Sheffield United but we showed how competitive we are, and we’ll be going there with the same attitude,” said Farke. “We know in this game we are not the 100pc favourite. You look at the home record, three wins and one draw so it is not so easy to bring some points out of Boro. But it won’t be easy for Boro to win.”
Farke accepts the focus has shifted from shipping goals to plundering them, after notching twice in the last five league games.
“As a coach, if five or six chances are not enough in a game then you have to try and create eight or nine,” he said. “That is one thing a coach can do. Another is maybe pray for decisions from the referee and the third point is to make sure the guys are very focused. Even if a chance falls in the first minute they need to be there with coolness and a brutal behaviour.”
Farke joked on Monday he is ready to dust off the boots to bolster City’s depleted ranks. The Norwich head coach has been forced to fast-track Nelson Oliveira into his plans after the Portugal international returned to full training prior to heading north, but the former German lower league striker is willing to come out of retirement.
“I was on the running machine on Sunday. Not too bad. Maybe I can have a place in the starting XI but hopefully the supporters do not have to see this,” said the City head coach. “I have brought my boots from Germany.
“They still fit and I scored a lot of goals with them. For a coach you want all the players fit and options. That will not be the situation but as long as we are able to have 11 guys on the pitch in a yellow shirt ready to fight for some points we would play with 11 centre backs.”