Norwich City Head Coach Daniel Farke says “unity and spirit” are the key ingredients he’ll be looking for in Friday night’s Premier League game at home to Leicester City.
Asked whether the Canaries can replicate a great escape ala Leicester City circa 2015, Farke said that, while it’s possible, he’s more interested in seeing a good performance in the short-term.
“I think when [Leicester stayed up] the coach was sacked, is that right? I have to be a bit careful! To be honest, it shows that everything is possible and that’s a great example. Everyone was writing them off and then they got seven wins from their last ten.
“If I’m honest, we weren’t on our top level in the last game, so I don’t want to speak about winning seven of the next ten games. It’s more important that we are focused on being back at the top of our game.
“What I want is that we leave our heart out on the pitch, always work and show great unity and spirit as well as tactically smart behaviour to be at the top of our game. Then everyone can say, ‘they tried everything’.”
As for the present-day Foxes, Farke added that Brendan Rodgers’ side are full of talent that can cause Norwich problems at Carrow Road, regardless of the fact they have won just one of the last six league games.
“We have just one win from our last six too, so it doesn’t mean that we are the favourites,” he said. “They have the third best away record and a fantastic team with quality players and a quality manager. Liverpool will win the title, but they still have a chance to be runner-up or at least qualify for the Champions League.
“We’re playing in the best league in the world and this is one of the best teams in it, so we are respectful. It’s a sign of how close the league is that even Leicester can’t win every game. We got a draw against them so everyone can win points against everyone and that’s the plan for tomorrow.”
Emiliano Buendia has been a talking point among Norwich City journalists and supporters of late due to his omission from recent starting elevens, but Farke was keen to clarify his support for the Argentinian.
“It’s quite important to be honest and straightforward,” he explained. “In 95 percent of my comments I praised Emi because I want to protect him. There have been questions around why he’s not on the pitch or if his performances aren’t great, but he was struggling a bit after being in fantastic shape in December and January.
“Sadly, he had an injury and was out for two and a half weeks. Since then, he’s struggled to come back to 100 percent, so that’s why he hasn’t played every minute. It’s quite normal for such a young player that there are doubts throughout the season, but I’m totally happy with his so far.
“Our young players get lots of praise and they deserve it. We back them but it’s important to speak about how we want to develop them, so with Emi I spoke about having to add a few goals and working on his tactical discipline.
“It’s the same for Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and Ben Godfrey. The moment I’m not allowed to speak about how a player has to improve is the moment I will retire from this job. I’m here in order to develop a team and players. Emi is not out of favour at all.
“Everyone knows how much I like Emi and have backed him and defended him when he’s made mistakes. There were incidents with red cards last season, and I protected him. I’m always there for my players. They’re not only in my head, but also in my heart.”
Finally, Farke touched on the topic of James Maddison’s return to Carrow Road, as the former Canary will be representing Leicester City in NR1 on Friday night.
“It’s thoroughly deserved that he has such a reputation here,” Fakre said. “He was and is popular because he had a fantastic development here and his behaviour was always top class. For such a young player, he was humble and always showed his pride to wear the yellow shirt and work for this club.
“I’m sure he’ll play an important role for the Three Lions because he has so many skills and qualities and I would prefer him to be playing in a yellow shirt against Leicester, but it’s important for us to control him in order to stop their offensive play.
“It’s always great to see James because I love this guy, but from the first to the last second we will try to make his life as difficult as possible.”