Following the confirmation that Norwich City defender Ben Godfrey will miss around six weeks with an LCL injury, Head Coach Daniel Farke says his side need to adopt a siege mentality to survive in the Premier League.
Having the odds stacked against them inspires City to prove outsiders wrong, according to the boss.
“We wonder what we did to deserve all the injuries,” he admitted. “We’re a newly promoted side who didn’t spend much money, had an unbelievable injury crisis, referees and VAR decisions have gone against us, and then when we’re back on the way up, we have another injury to a key player.
“I’m not close to tears or going back to my dark cave. I trust my lads and we won’t complain. I want us to have the attitude that ‘everything is against us, so what? Throw everything our way and we will put it aside.’ Everyone can write us off, but I’m sure we have a great chance to celebrate what we want to achieve.”
Saturday’s Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers represents the next chance City have to advance their quest for survival in the topflight, and Farke is full of praise for the weekend’s visitors.
“They are pretty impressive,” he said. “Since winning promotion back to the Premier League, they’ve improved on a weekly and monthly basis. They have a good mix of experienced and young players and made good movements in the transfer market which showed ambition. It’s no coincidence they are where they are in the table. They always look solid and are a competitor for Europe, so we are respectful, but we know that when we are good, we always have a chance.
“They are very dangerous on counter-attacks but solid as well, often defending in a 5-4-1. Their transition moments are good, so it’s important we’re good in possession and don’t give easy balls away. The more we exhaust them against our possession, the less energy they have for counter-attacks.”
Following the Wolves game, Norwich have two of the next three games at home throughout the festive period, and Farke outlined the importance of picking up points both home and away.
“It’s always good to play in our living and in front of our own fans,” he added. “We know the setup and don’t have to travel so that helps a bit, but it’s the same game – 11 v 11 with two rectangles at the end of the pitch – so I wouldn’t look into it too much.
“We’ve been quite good on the road, with a point at Leicester City and a great win at Goodison Park. When you’re fighting relegation, it’s important to win points at home, but I take each one wherever they come.
“When we were picking points up at home at the beginning of the season, everyone was asking why we couldn’t get points on the road. Now, everyone says we need more points at home. Both are right. We need points wherever we play and are greedy to use the three chances in the next fortnight.
“If we can create the spirit of being convinced by our strengths and play pro-actively on the front foot, like we did at Leicester, we have a chance to get more points under our belt against Wolves.
“Each game differs. At home to Manchester City we were deeper and more dangerous in counter-attacks. One of our key topics at Leicester was to be brave in our build-up, not putting the ball up front with long passes. We bypassed Jamie Vardy and James Maddison, made them work and exhausted them, allowing us to control the game in many periods, even without possession.
“That’s key for the upcoming games. We need to be the protagonists and play on the front foot. Against Sheffield United, we played too many long balls, so it’s important that we stick to our principles – short passes, combinations, being brave, attacking the opponent.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on this period. When you analyse the whole season, we delivered with some good performances in the first twelve games but only won seven points. Right now, we’re in the big second part of the season in which the table is built, so we need as many points as possible.
“The last six games are crunch time when the nerves are important. From match 13 to 32, we have to get as many points as possible. Out of the five games in this period so far we have five points, which isn’t too bad, because if you average one point over the whole season, you’d have a good chance of staying in the league.
“We need to win more because the start wasn’t quite there, but we’re not too far away. If we’re capable to win around 24 or 25 points from this section, we should be in a good position for crunch time. The quicker we get those the better and the easier it is to keep the spirits up when the mind games begin. We have to make sure we’re not too down when we lose or too high when we win.
“2019 has been a great year for everyone involved with the football club at Carrow Road, so we have to be grateful and thankful. We know we face an unbelievably difficult task, are the underdogs, and are favourite for position 20, but we definitely have a chance to finish outside the relegation zone.”