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Daniel Farke: The fans were top class

1 February 2020

Norwich City Head Coach Daniel Farke was keen to praise the club’s travelling supporters, who were heard for 90 minutes at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

“The fans were top class,” he said. “We have all the backing and I’m glad the lads gave a top-class performance back. Of course, we would have liked to send them back with a win. We would have been completely back in the mix, but we have to accept just one point.”

Discussing the game in more detail, Farke says he and the squad are frustrated and disappointed to leave Tyneside with just the one point.

“We are very disappointed,” he said. “It was our fourth top-class performance in a row since the clean sheet against Bournemouth. We had a top win at Burnley and it’s a good draw here today, away and with a clean sheet at Newcastle, but, like when we had a really good performance at Tottenham, sadly we didn’t have the perfect outcome.

“We always want to win, and I think only one team should have won today. We had a nearly perfect performance, taking their physicality and individual class away. We created so many chances and were dangerous out of counterattacks, set pieces and in possession.

“We had enough chances to win, so compliments for the performance but we’re disappointed with the outcome because this game was one we should have won.”

Asked for his thoughts on the solid performances of Christoph Zimmermann and Grant Hanley at centre-back, Farke preferred to focus on the team’s defensive shape as a whole.

“The whole team worked hard,” he said. “It’s not like just two centre-backs can defend their own goal. As a team we defended well. They have so much quality with Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Almiron and the new guys like Bentaleb and Lazaro.

“I would have wished to bring the ball into the goal because that’s what counts. That’s the only thing we were missing.”

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Thankfully, Newcastle were unable to replicate their recent trend of scoring goals in stoppage time, as they had done against Everton and Chelsea of late.

“In stoppage time, only one team was a goal threat and that was us up front,” Farke added. “Onel Hernandez had a one-on-one situation with a defender in the box. We showed a really good performance so I can praise our attitude, spirit and performance.

“Perhaps in one or two days I’ll calm down a bit but at the moment I’m greedy and I wanted to win this game. The players are disappointed because they knew we were so close and needed to win the game.”

Emi Buendia made a return to the squad following a brief spell sidelined with injury, and Farke is enthusiastic about utilising the Argentinian in the upcoming fixtures.

“It’s always good to have Emi back as an option,” he said. “He was out for eleven or twelve days and returned to training on Wednesday. You could feel when he came on that he needs to shake off the rust a bit. It’s good to have a player of his class available. Now there’s time for him to train and be back at his best level hopefully pretty soon.”

City will now rest up during their winter break before preparing for the visit of champions elect Liverpool at Carrow Road in two weeks. It’s a game Norwich aren’t going to look to get just a point from, regardless of the calibre of the opposition.

“We want to give ourselves the chance to win everyone one of our upcoming games with top class performances, like we’ve done in the last four games,” Farke said. “The new guys, Ondrej and Lukas, are quite important for us and they help us a lot. They were top class today.

“We can bring this performance on the pitch and be in the position to win games, but that’s football. We have to accept that we won’t win every game because sometimes you miss an unbelievable amount of chances.

“Two wins, one draw and one loss isn’t a bad outcome from the last four league games but not a perfect one. We are all greedy and will search for wins in the next games. We don’t play just to avoid losing. After a few days, we can be proud of the performance and take confidence and self-belief.”

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