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Daniel Farke: We showed great character

15 December 2018

Daniel Farke praised the fighting spirit of his team to get back into the game and pick up a point against Bristol City.

Norwich took the lead in the first half with a superb strike from Marco Stiepermann which curled into the net, but found themselves 2-1 down with 30 minutes to go after goals from Famara Diedhiou and Callum O’Dowda.

But in true Canaries style they battled until the end, with a Max Aarons header bringing the score level in the 78th minute.

Farke said: “It was a good point and we are pleased. It’s a tough place to go and when you are behind and the crowd is excited in a home game against the league leaders, it’s not easy to come back but we were capable of doing this.”

The Norwich Head Coach also praised the determination of his team, with four players battling with illness on the pitch.

“It was a difficult game because several lads who have been important in recent weeks like Timm Klose and Moritz Leitner were not really available and several lads were also struggling with flu,” Farke said.

“I didn’t mention it before the game because I didn’t want to have any excuses, but I had to take Christoph Zimmermann off after 60 minutes because he has the flu and didn’t sleep last night and also Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia were struggling a bit with the flu. So for that I think we showed great character and for us it’s a good point.”

Stiepermann’s goal was his fourth in all competitions for Norwich since joining in the summer, with three of those coming in the last five matches.

Farke said: “It’s always important to add some end products and I think it was a good goal. It was a good chip pass from Christoph, good running from Teemu with the assist and an ice-cold finish from Marco.

“In this moment we were totally on the front foot but sadly we paid the price for two naïve losses of the ball and out of this we conceded two goals. We tried to switch the play in a naïve way and we were not concentrating on the pass and out of this Bristol had three big chances in a row. We had some mistakes today in our game but in general we dominated the game and were the better side.”

The City boss changed his formation in the second half to help claw a goal back and was pleased with the impact his substitutions made.

“I always believe in my players and their ability but I got the feeling in this moment that I had to help out the lads a little bit and make some changes and change our system to a three, five, two,” said Farke. “We haven’t had this much in recent weeks, but I got the feeling that we were pretty close to losing control of the game.

“You can have an idea as a coach but it’s up to the players to fulfil it on the pitch and they fulfilled it quickly. Onel got a brilliant assist and I put Max on the other side and he got a brilliant goal so it was great.

“I got the feeling in the last 15 minutes that we came pretty close to winning the game and we were there with an offside goal which was a pretty close decision and several other good chances. So it was the right decision and big compliments to my players. It’s not easy to be so flexible in the game but again they showed they are flexible in their style and able to fight back.”

Farke was also full of praise for Tim Krul, who made two crucial saves to keep Norwich in the game.

He said: “We lost the ball and out of this Bristol had three really good chances and in two of them Tim was there with outstanding saves. He repaired the mistakes today and that’s what you need. When the team makes a mistake, you have to give your life to repair this and thank god Tim was able to do this today and was there with a really good performance.”

Farke’s final words of praise went to Grant Hanley, who returned to the team for the first time since picking up an injury in September’s derby against Ipswich Town.

“He was three months without a game and during this week he had an eye inflammation and it was not easy for him to come into a difficult game," said Farke. "But he fought into the game and he had a big chance to score pretty close to the final whistle and showed great leadership. It will take a little bit of time until he is there with 100%, but it’s good for him to be back and have his first minutes.”

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