Canaries chief expects Hughton to lead Forest on play-off chase next season
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Daniel Farke classes Chris Hughton as a ‘gentleman’ and while he is looking forward to speaking to the Nottingham Forest boss, he is also aware that means there is a difficult game in store for Norwich City.
The former Canaries boss arrived at the City Ground in October after a bad start to the campaign and has installed his trademark defensive strength to push Forest nine points clear of trouble, losing just four of their last 18 league games.
This evening Hughton and his players are trying to bring an end to the leaders’ unerring march towards promotion, thanks to eight wins on the spin - with Farke already seeing Forest as safe from the drop and as play-off contenders for next season.
“When you judge their games, they either finish with a clean sheet or just concede one goal. It’s so difficult to create chances against a Chris Hughton side and even to speak about scoring goals against them,” said City’s head coach.
“They are unbelievably competitive, well-structured and organised. You can see the handwriting of Chris. When this comes together, quality players and a coach who is able to give them a good structure and solidity against the ball, it is likely that the results will come.
“This is the reason why I think they are safe and don’t need to worry about a relegation battle any more, it’s more like they can already build on it.
“There is a gap to the play-off ranks already and actually with these types of players and the coach, they would have the opportunity to fight for this but this season it is perhaps a bit too much after a difficult start.
“But definitely during the next season I think they will be greedy to build on this and during the next games work on this momentum.
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“It’s a pretty competitive side and unbelievably difficult to win points against them. If I’m honest I’m not surprised and not too impressed because I know the quality of Chris Hughton.
“He is full of style and class, I like him a lot, he is really a gentleman in the game and it’s good to see him.
“It’s not that great to see a side that is managed by him because it is always difficult to beat a Chris Hughton side – but we will try our best and we also want to be competitive.”
Todd Cantwell was the Canaries’ match-winner at Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, with a sublime, curling finish, but his strong form hasn't been enough to force his way into the England Under-21 squad alongside team-mates Max Aarons and Oliver Skipp.
“Each and every one of my players is happy and proud when he is allowed to represent his country,” Farke said of the disappointment for the creative midfielder.
“We also had a few disappointments during this week, Jacob Lungi Sorensen for example was also expecting to be called up for Denmark (under-21s).
“But this is what players have to learn, that sometimes there are setbacks along the way and it is not always clear and easy.
“It is important how you respond and how you react as a player."
Academy product Cantwell has five goals and four assists to his name so far this season – and is on standby for the Young Lions ahead of the European U21 Championship group stages in Slovenia later this month.
Farke continued: “When he was younger, I think there were many people who perhaps doubted him a bit because he was always regarded as an unbelievable talent with much potential and technical skills.
“Especially in his younger years, when he was 17 or 18, he was also doubted – but he is also a confident lad and he can deal with these disappointments.
“In the last three years it was never easy for him, to get to the first team, then to play with consistency and after suffering relegation the start of the season was not easy for him.
“But he has responded in a top-class way, he is a really good character, a really good lad and I think he has all the skills to deal with another disappointment.
“There also many interesting topics and subjects coming up for him in the next weeks, and I’m pretty sure that he is already fully focused and will work even harder right now.”