Farke pleased to see Rupp fighting to prove his doubters wrong

ukas Rupp battles with Bournemouth midfielder Philip Billing during City's 1-0 loss on Sunday Pictur

ukas Rupp battles with Bournemouth midfielder Philip Billing during City's 1-0 loss on Sunday Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Daniel Farke felt Lukas Rupp took a step forward in his Norwich City career with a lively display at Bournemouth.

The 29-year-old had only featured briefly during the opening two Championship games but came into the starting XI in an advanced central midfield position, with Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia left out of City’s squad.

He forced a good save from Cherries keeper Asmir Begovic and was at the heart of much of the Canaries’ good work during a hard fought 1-0 defeat on the south coast.

Asked if it had been the former Hoffenheim midfielder’s best display since joining in January, Farke replied: “I’d definitely agree. We had to change our pressing behaviour a bit because usually we press with four players but because Bournemouth play with a three-man (defensive) formation we just pressed with three players and we needed to strengthen a bit the central midfield, against players like Jefferson Lerma, who even in the Premier League are top quality.

“I know there was a lot of criticism of Lukas last season, especially after lockdown, he came in after a difficult spell and didn’t always play in his favoured position.

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“I think he proved during pre-season and also in this game how important he can be. I was pretty pleased with his performance.”

Despite the absence of creative talents Cantwell and Buendia – with Farke citing a lack of focus from both ahead of the final weeks of the transfer window – there was no place on the bench for Marco Stiepermann.

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City’s head coach is sure one of the key members of the 2018-19 Championship title-winning season will soon be back in the thick of the action though, after recent back trouble.

“That was difficult,” he added. “I gave him many compliments after our last session because he was there with a top training week. It was more like between him and, also for his position, Mario Vrancic.

“Marco sadly because of his back missed a few training sessions and for that I decided Mario Vrancic deserved it because he has been training properly during the last few weeks. But it was a close decision and Marco, thank god, is back and also a topic for the next weeks.”

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