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Daniel Farke: I’m in love with this group of players

25 January 2020

Norwich City Head Coach Daniel Farke was full of praise for his side after they beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

“It’s been a few years since Norwich City were in the fifth round and now, we have a chance to go into the sixth round for the first time in around 30 years,” he said. “To come to Burnley, and Turf Moor is a difficult place to go, and deliver this performance and come back with a well-deserved win, I can only praise the lads. We are all happy.

“It feels even sweeter because Burnley is known as an unbelievably strong team from set-pieces. We defended everything well from those and scored the first goal with a top-class delivery from Mario Vrancic and a concentrated and focused header from Grant. I’m delighted for both of them. It’s always important to be capable of scoring from a set-piece because it can decide a game.”

Josip Drmic made his first start for City in the game, having appeared a number of times off the bench for the Canaries in recent months.

“It was a good performance from Josip, and it’s always good when a striker has end product,” Farke said. “He got a goal and had good workload. I’m so in love with this group of players because they are sometimes moody or not happy when they’re not in the lineup or the squad, but to come in without being in that rhythm and deliver such a team performance – committed, spirited, and top-class – says a lot about their character.”

At 2-0 up, City looked intent on adding a third, but Erik Pieters’ second-half strike emphasised the importance of having secured that two-goal cushion, something which has alluded City in the league all too often this season.

“To be 2-0 up was deserved and we had chances to score the third or fourth goal,” Farke admitted. “Sadly, we missed a few and anything can happen. The ball went through three of my lads at the near post and Burnley scored. With their physical strength and long balls, they can create situations, but even in the final few minutes I never had the feeling they would score because our defending was disciplined and solid.

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“I’m delighted we didn’t score the third or fourth goal to show we can bring a tight game over the line. It’s the second time in a short period that we did that, as we did against AFC Bournemouth last weekend. It’s good for the confidence and to know we’re capable of winning a tight game against a good side.”

Asked for his thoughts on Ralf Fährmann’s performance, after the ‘keeper made a string of key saves, Farke was delighted.

“Ralf was one of the players who had to wait a long time to play,” he said. “Last time he played 90 minutes was Crawley away. To make one or two crucial saves, one of which was world-class from Jay Rodriguez’s shot in the first half, is good for him. It’s good for the mood of the team.

“Tim Krul has had top class performances in the league. Michael McGovern has had good performances in the cup. In terms of goalkeeping, we have no problems – a top-class group on Premier League level.”

Within the space of eight days, City beat Bournemouth, lost to Spurs and beat Burnley, with the boss feeling pleased with what he saw.

“Performance-wise we were top class in all three games,” he said. “Sadly, the outcome was just two wins which isn’t too bad from those three games, but I think we deserved more than an unlucky loss at Tottenham. We won’t dance on the tables, but we are all happy to be going in the right direction.

“Lukas Rupp and Ondrej Duda showed that they can help us to improve. We have to make sure we continue with these performances, then we’ll have a chance to go further with our run in the FA Cup and to work on our little miracle in the league.”

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