David Hannant: Daniel Farke is recapturing his Midas Touch from title-winning season
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
I’ve never been in the Farke Out crowd.
Even when we were in that torrid run at the end of last season, I never really felt the solution would be to rely on a dead cat’s bounce to keep up in the league and shoot out the boss.
Of course it goes without saying that the 2019/20 season ended under far from desirable circumstances, which really did knock the wind out of the sails of many a Norwich City fan.
I’m no different, by the end I felt deflated and didn’t even watch the last few games out of dejection.
However, even then, I wanted to see how Daniel Farke would respond to life back in the second tier before giving him his marching orders.
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Maybe it’s just blind loyalty, because of how much joy he brought in that one season. This may also be added to by the fact he’s about to become our second longest serving manager this century - his next game takes his tenure exactly one match longer than Paul Lambert’s.
But in all honesty, I never really like seeing managers shot out the door during bad runs of form, unless it is clear that something truly toxic is going on behind the scenes - the Roeder types - or if the football itself is as turgid as the results, ala Chris Hughton.
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Daniel Farke has never fitted either of these boxes for me. Yes, there were the games last season where things just didn’t go our way, but we were always looking to play the game right and to our principles - which was enough for me to be comfortable at least giving him the first few months of the season to recapture his spark.
And this is exactly what I feel he is doing - between these two pointless international breaks (more on that later), we have seen quite a few different ghosts of that terrific 2018/19 season reemerge.
Teemu Pukki looks his old self again, there have been late goals aplenty and - most importantly - the points are adding up, even when the performances haven’t been their best.
We’ve also seen Emi Buendia clearly get over his little wobble and Marco Stiepermann got back among the goals on Saturday.
All these things are things you would associate with the season Daniel Farke led City to a romping 90-odd points, promotion and the Championship title.
During that season, few would have disputed that Daniel Farke had the Midas Touch - everything he placed his hands on turned into gold, gold, gold.
Whether it was the way he set out the team, the choices he made with his line-ups or the connection he made with the supporters, the man could do no wrong.
Clearly, mistakes were made during the Premier League campaign, but the way he seems to be readjusting to the second tier is a testament to the man.
When teams are relegated from the Premier League, it can go one way or the other - there could be a hangover or things click.
I remember when we came down under Alex Neil, things all got a little bit sluggish.
I’ll always have a great deal of time for Alex Neil as a manager and he’s doing a decent job at Preston now, but I remember writing in this very column that season about how he needed to rediscover his fire.
It probably wouldn’t be unfair to say that Daniel did look slightly dejected at the end of the season - who didn’t, us included.
But I’m starting to feel we really are seeing the old Daniel Farke. - and he even seems to have added a new feather to his bow.
One slight criticism that some made of the City boss during the promotion season was his approach to substitutions - it wasn’t really a season characterised too much by influential substitutions.
However, so far this season we have seen five goals plundered by subs and several changes that have truly influenced the game.
Daniel’s substitutions this season have been inspired - and my point about him rediscovering his Midas Touch can be no better summed up that Saturday.
In a game against touch opposition, he looked beyond the tried and tested options of Hugil, Vrancic and co and turned to two teenagers - Bali Mumba and Josh Martin, to take the game by the scruff of its neck.
Had it not come off, he would have looked fairly foolish to say the least - but it did come off.
Mumba in particular injected real impetus and urgency into the game and looked a fantastic prospect going forward.
If this is the kind of impact we’re going to continue seeing from Farke’s decisions, he’s definitely got his golden touch back. He even looks more relaxed and is having fun on press duties.
I hope I’m not speaking too soon, but fortune favours the brave as Farke said - so I’m going to be brave too. If this continues, I see another league title ahead.