Green outlines key components to top-flight survival for City
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Maintaining a pragmatic core and being capable to win games on fine margins will be critical to whether Norwich City can survive in the Premier League next season, according to Robert Green.
The ex-City goalkeeper played over 260 games in the top-flight across eight seasons for West Ham, Queens Park Rangers and the Canaries, suffering relegations and helping clubs maintain their status.
City will be looking to prove they possess what it takes to keep themselves afloat in the Premier League next season, adopting subtle tweaks implemented by Daniel Farke to help them become more durable to life in the top-flight.
A newfound defensive structure was key to the Canaries' dominance in the Championship this season, with Farke stating last summer that solidity at the back is often important for sides looking to stay up in their first season.
Green was part of the defensively resilient Norwich side back in 2003/04 that won the Division One title under Nigel Worthington and has been remembered for their quality and strength at the back.
Despite the fact they failed to retain their place in the league the following year, Green believes pragmatism and staying in matches is pivotal to any side wanting success in the Premier League.
"To be more pragmatic was big towards this season," Green said.
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"They scored fewer goals this season but have controlled more games. They decided to try and win games 2-0. I think one of the worst things that happened, and it sounds stupid, was beating Manchester City, playing a high press and going toe to toe with one of the best teams in the world. You're not going to do that every week.
"They did it the next week against Burnley, tried to play through them and were 2-0 down in 10 minutes. You've got to be more pragmatic and streetwise in the Premier League. You hope the failures of the past will stand them in good stead for their next challenge next season."
Green also believes Norwich have to fight to keep hold of their key players and learn to win games ugly.
"Keep hold of your best players and on a game to game basis, win the games that you're not great in. If you can nick those games, and you can do it in the Premier League, and come away with a win, then that is going to be big for their survival next season.
"You don't have to be brilliant to win games. You just need to stay in games. With the pragmatic approach, hopefully, that will give them a better chance of staying up."
City's dominance came from a more structured approach off the ball.
Farke is wedded to his footballing philosophy but not naive enough to realise changes weren't required to future proof his methods after the disappointing nature in which they were relegated.
In Green's view, that new framework assembled by the key protagonists at the club, coupled with their ability to control matches in the Championship will stand them in good stead next season.
"The hierarchy at the club, the sporting director, manager, owners they all turned around and said they were really disappointed with how they got relegated last season but they said 'we're going to bounce back'.
"A lot of people questioned whether they could because it's tough, but they have and they did in glorious style and really controlled games. Two years ago when they got promoted, they won a lot of games just purely out of momentum and scoring goals late on.
"This year they've just controlled games and been the better footballing team so many times. I've seen the passing stats and they were 5000 passes better than the second-best team or something like that. You have a lot more chances to score goals if you have the ball and passing it. It sounds obvious but they control games so well.
"Next season is going to be a huge task because it's a lot of the same team and you're wondering if that same team can do better than what they did last time. Have they improved as players? Has the manager improved them as players? Can they keep hold of their better players?
"The question marks are still there but they tick that box for me."
- Former England international Rob Green and legendary striker Dean Windass are helping football fans around Great Britain take control of their energy spending while also encouraging everyone to do their bit to help upgrade our outdated energy system by getting a smart meter – paving the way for smarter homes and more integration of renewables like wind and solar.