Canaries don’t want realism to be mistaken for surrender ahead of Watford clash
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Daniel Farke may have admitted his team’s Premier League fate is almost sealed after defeat to Brighton but he has assured supporters that Norwich City remain fully focused on victory at Watford this evening.
The Canaries’ head coach was honest enough to admit that his side may have missed their “last chance” to spark a survival surge after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat, leaving them seven points from safety with five games remaining.
Five consecutive league defeats leaves City on the verge of an immediate return to the Championship, yet Farke insists that honesty should not be confused with waving a white flag in surrender.
“I said we don’t have the right to speak about winning all of the last five games, not after losing the last four games and after missing a big chance against Brighton. That’s not the time to be there with fighting messages,” the Norwich boss explained.
“It’s in this moment that I think you have to be humble and self-critical, to be realistic, and we are still realistic now. We are not naive, after 33 games in terms of points we would probably need to win all of the last five games.
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“Of course as long as this is possible we will keep going and anyhow it is a pretty special league season, it seems like all the teams at the bottom are incapable of winning any points, and for that maybe it will be that three or four wins are enough.
“But again, we are in the situation where we have lost our last five games in the league and it is not up to us to say we’ll win the next five, it’s just to concentrate on the next task and to stay humble.
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“It’s important to show our pride, that we invest a lot, that we are there with good performances and of course to win as many points as possible, then we will see at the end.
“We get the feeling that this season everything is a bit special and unique - and it’s always the same, as long as everything is possible at least in a theoretical way, we will keep going and keep fighting, that’s for sure.”
Having not tasted victory in the Premier League since February the German coach is well aware that lifting his players to perform to the best of their ability at Vicarage Road will not be easy.
He hit back at accusations that the club’s senior staff had portrayed negativity towards City’s chances of survival following promotion though.
“I was totally prepared for this tough time,” said Farke. “From the first day after our promotion I said that we had perhaps a five percent chance of survival, that in 19 of 20 cases in our circumstances and with our opportunities, with still having to pay for some sins of the past and not being able to invest in the quality of the group, we would be relegated.
“With a bunch of younger lads and even the older lads who have not played on this top level, of course we have this five percent chance for another miracle and it is possible if you are there with a perfect start, when confidence is high, if you are not hit by injuries and have a bit of luck, everything is possible even on this level.
“Probably no other club was hit that badly by an injury crisis like we were and then for sure it was difficult. To be honest it is quite normal then that when you speak about this and are quite realistic after promotion, that no one wants to hear this.
“People say ‘okay, but on Championship level we were so dominant, we’ll be alright’, no, this was just a realistic view and I was totally prepared. It’s always the same, there is a bit of criticism about the commitment or the desire sometimes of the players, or the coaching staff, or the head coach with the wrong starting line-up. It was not a surprise for me.
“Of course I would prefer to be there to use our five percent chance, that everything goes in our favour and that we can work another miracle after promotion last season.
“But I was totally prepared and expecting that it definitely could go this way but it doesn’t take away that it is always difficult when you are there with setbacks in results that you have to lift up the players.
“They were also hoping - even more than me, because I’m a different age and more experienced - because when you are young and full of energy and self-confidence, you think you can save the world all alone.
“So of course they are disappointed and you need to lift them up but I was totally prepared, it’s not something I didn’t expect.
“Of course it’s difficult to boost and to lift them but that’s my job at the moment. It’s not going to be unbelievably easy but that’s what I have to do.”