Connor Southwell: Keeping the faith in Farke will be key to City’s rebuild
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There has been plenty of criticism angled at Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke this season - yet the German still has the unwavering support of those above him.
Some of those concerns are just, after all, he has overseen a City side relegated with 10 straight league defeats whilst recording their lowest points tally in the top flight in their history.
Tactically, there have been errors. He would hold his hands up to those, but the failures of this season are more nuanced than simply placing the blame firmly at Farke’s door.
The Canaries need to, and will, stick with their head coach this summer.
It wasn’t a season that sailed by without mistakes, but if City did opt to change their head coach now, they would descend back down a road towards transition.
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Next season will be a critical one in terms of the cultural aspects at the club. For three seasons, City have placed their trust in Farke’s style of play, with his philosophy ingrained throughout the club.
City saw his work bear fruit in the Championship - but the top-flight was a culture shock that exposed the deficiencies the Canaries had on the pitch.
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Ultimately, it comes down to recruitment. The German was asked to produce another footballing miracle. Putting together a jigsaw is difficult if some of the pieces don’t fit or are missing entirely.
City’s boss never weaponised those cards handed to him as a method of gaining sympathy - he was brutally realistic when forecasting City’s hopes of success.
Farke isn’t immune from criticism. That title-winning campaign was special, but it doesn’t mean supporters will be starry-eyed and reject the negative offerings this season, the club’s task now is to adopt a growth mentality, one which can roll with the punches and grow into the expectations that will place upon its shoulders.
When Farke arrived at Carrow Road, he was given a blank canvas and some paint to construct a bold new picture in Norfolk.
His ability to place his tactical ideas on the pitch cannot be questioned, that philosophy saw City romp to the Championship title.
Contextually, remembering what he inherited is pivotal to understanding the positive work he has conducted since his appointment.
When he arrived on these shores, City were in regression. The identity crisis left them looking into the mirror and being unsure of the image they faced.
Alan Irvine was in temporary charge and claimed that the club didn’t possess any options in the academy capable of impacting proceedings in the senior team.
Three seasons later, City end their debut Premier League season with 10 academy graduates in their matchday squad.
Farke’s trust in James Maddison saw him become a £20million talent - a sale which helped the club steer themselves out of financial adversity.
Even in a season that concluded in a dismal points return and a deflating demotion - City have added value to their assets and safeguarded the future of the club.
In Farke, they possess a head coach totally wedded to their ideological blueprint - someone who understands that short-term pain is a necessary endurance for any long-term prosperity at the club.
There will be newfound expectations and increased scrutiny, but with the correct tools and lessons learned from a Premier League season that brutally exposed their flaws, Farke will believe he can construct another promotion-winning side.
After all, he was the coach who defied the odds by claiming the title ahead of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United and Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United.
Refinement of his philosophy may be necessary, for example City will need to possess a greater resolve this time around, if City are to thrive at the top-level, but right now it’s about ensuring they get there again.
Contrary to popular belief, coaches don’t lose their talent and capabilities overnight.
City’s success and failures over the past two years haven’t been solely down to Farke. That’s the purpose of the model at the club.
The opening period of games will be critical, if City don’t fly out of the blocks and show their intent - then Stuart Webber possesses the ruthlessness to pull the trigger, regardless of Farke being the man he appointed.
Improvement will be demanded from the supporters watching on at home - but City’s boss deserves a crack at righting the wrongs of last season.