Norwich City Head Coach Daniel Farke insists the Canaries will be fighting for all three points at the King Power Stadium this weekend, while remaining respectful of the quality of Leicester City’s players.
Speaking to the press at Friday afternoon’s press conference, the boss said: “We know we need an outstanding performance against Leicester. They have had several wins in a row, so it’s a tough game for us. We’ve showed in every game that we are competitive.
“Looking at our last four games, there were two poor halves – the first half at Southampton and the second against Sheffield United. We could have lost all four games, but it was also possible to win all four.
“We have found it a bit easier to get results against top-class teams instead of those who just concentrate on defending and sitting deep, like Watford, Southampton and Sheffield United. We have a chance in every game. We’re respectful of Leicester but not scared.
“Manchester City had been nearly 20 games unbeaten when we played them, so it was a big sensation. We’re the underdog so it would be normal for Leicester to win, but if we are good in our attacking and reduce our mistakes then we’re good wherever we travel.”
Looking back to last weekend, Farke was understandably disappointed to come away with nothing following a good first-half display against Sheffield United at Carrow Road.
“It was disappointing against Sheffield United,” he said. “We started solid in the first half, and while we weren’t world-class, we were on the front foot. We deserved to be in the lead. We had one or two situations to score the second goal to bury the game, but sadly we had ten poor minutes with several mistakes in the second half. Sheffield United are good at defending so it was difficult to turn the game and it was a disappointing outcome.
“It’s always important to be honest and objective after the game to point out the details we were good in and what we should improve in. A good result is always good for the mood but after the loss we were disappointed for one or two days. Since Wednesday, we’ve been totally focused and prepared for the next difficult task against Leicester City.”
As for the Foxes, Farke was full of praise for their man at the helm – Brendan Rodgers – who recently extended his contract at the club.
“Brendan has done a fantastic job,” he added. “Having so many wins in a row at this level is outstanding. They have good defensive behaviour with many clean sheets. The mindset and mental attitude of the team – they enjoy working together. They have lots of fun while playing football, and that’s down to Brendan. The results help with the mood and the confidence, but he created that atmosphere within the team.”
One link between Saturday’s squads is James Maddison, who played under Farke for Norwich City before moving to Leicester in 2018. He’s recently come under high praise from the media due to his performances.
“The praise is well deserved for James,” his old boss said. “Since I worked with him, he’s had a great attitude. When I arrived, he was still a bit like a kid, and we had to build him up. We worked a lot on his positioning and his tactical understanding of the game. He was greedy to improve every day and has a balance between being confident and self-critical to improve his game. We were sad when he left, but he developed a bit faster than the club did. It was crucial to keep the club running because of financial pressure.
“He’s improving from week to week, playing as a key player for the side second in the best league in the world. He delivers with goals and assists, so totally deserved to get called up for the national squad.
“Even when he was wearing the shirt of the little Three Lions (England Under-21s), we were talking about one day wearing the shirt of the proper Three Lions. If he can carry on with his feet on the ground, he will have a great future. We look forward to seeing him, but we want to make it as difficult as possible tomorrow.”
It goes without saying but another of Leicester’s danger men is the player often on the end of Maddison’s deliveries, and Jamie Vardy’s form shows no signs of slowing down.
“Quality is defined by performances over a long-term period and Vardy is delivering that,” Farke added. “That’s a sign of a quality striker. He’s one of the best strikers in Europe. One key task for us will be to control him and his movement, but also for the team to disturb the deliveries for him, to control where he gets the passes from. We have to be switched on in possession because he’s good in counterattacks and always lurking.”
From a tactical point of view, the boss insists that this weekend’s game may favour Norwich City, who have tended to struggle in recent weeks against teams who opt for a more defensive approach.
“There’s pressure on us in every game,” Farke said. “Every point counts, so there’s not much difference. We did well against Newcastle when they weren’t in the best position. They were sitting back pretty deep, but we were able to dominate the game and create chances, so we’re capable of winning against those sides.
“Sometimes it is easier for us, with our movements behind, counterattacks and quick passing to play a team who is more open and gives us more space, instead of sitting deep. We don’t have unbelievable physical strength, so we can find it easier when we’re in the lead and the opponent has to open up, or when we play a side concentrated on playing football and attacking.
“Liverpool are also better against sides who try to play football because then they have space for their offensive players to use their pace. It has nothing to do with pressure.”