Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke admired his team’s work-rate as the Canaries beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Ewood Park on Saturday.
“It was a terrific win, outstanding,” he said. “I’m delighted today and I can’t praise the lads enough. They have done a fantastic job and I’m sure many teams will struggle here. Blackburn is a top possession-based side and one of the biggest offensive threats in the league.
“They’ve scored so many goals and are competitors for the top six positions. Not many teams will be allowed to travel away from here with a point, let alone three, but we are and it’s fully deserved.
“The lads left their hearts on the pitch and found a good balance between being solid over many periods in the game and providing an attacking threat and cutting edge.“
It was never going to be all plain sailing against a strong Blackburn outfit, but the boss was pleased with how his side dealt with Rovers’ threat for the most part.
“We had to accept today that there would be a few periods of possession for them and you always have to be solid and compact,” he said. “They were a threat from wide areas with free-kicks and corner kicks.
“I think we gave a bit too many of them away during the game, but we didn’t really allow chances. From winning the ball, we were good in our counter attacks but also had spells when we controlled the game, dominated and created chances.
“We could have made our lives a bit easier if we scored some chances in the first half. We could have had a more calm time and in the end there was a great chance for Todd Cantwell and Marco Stiepermann.
“We had good chances to score more than just two away goals, but in general apart from giving a goal away, there weren’t many clear chances. To find the balance between providing an attacking threat and being solid, I’m pleased with this.”
Teemu Pukki made the headlines, scoring his 50th goal for Norwich City in his 100th appearance for the club.
“I would want him to have 50 games and 100 goals,” Farke said. “But, all jokes aside, he’s an outstanding player. Today, he was fantastic and it was one of his best performances in a yellow shirt.
“Some key players for him have not been there, struggling with injuries, and he showed his responsibilities not just with the two goals, but his workload and pressing. He won so many balls for us and always puts pressure on the ball.
“He created so much space for his teammates. For example, with the second goal he won the ball, drove up front and got the benefit from a good shot of Emi Buendia, deflecting the ball exactly in the way he wanted for a fantastic goal.
“He’s an absolute team player, so I think we should all value that we have a player of this quality and personality.”
Not to mention, Alex Tettey made his 250th appearance on Saturday, and showed his attacking strengths as well as his defensive capabilities.
“It’s like I said in the press conference,” Farke added. “We always speak about Alex’s solidity and you can count on him and he proved it again because we needed a bit more steel in order to be prepared for them playing through the centre.
“We needed his experience, competitiveness and ability to win duels. With the ball, sometimes we forget he is a really quality player. It was a great assist for Teemu for the first goal.
“It was a great striker goal but a top class assist from Alex on his 250th appearance, so nearly half-time. It was great for him to celebrate his half-time with a win and assist, so I’m pretty pleased for him.”
Finally, Farke also discussed the return of more of his first-team squad members to full fitness, and was pleased to see Jordan Hugill get on at the end of the match.
“We’re still struggling with injuries to key players, no doubt about this but it seems to be easing up, which makes my life a bit easier because today I was capable of bringing Todd and Kenny in for a proper amount of minutes, as well as Jordan because I got the feeling we could take the risk,” he said.
“I asked him if he really feels ready to come into this intense duel, but he said, ‘boss, I’m ready to go and want to fight for the team’, and he proved it in the last minutes, nearly getting a fantastic assist for Marco.
“This team spirit and togetherness we have is outstanding, but right now that the options come back, it’s important we have a few more days for these players in terms of training.
“Kieran Dowell, pretty soon, will be a really reliable option. It’s good that I don’t have to take the risk at the moment.
“We still have to keep going and deliver all three days. This league is relentless and we have to keep going.”