The pain that Norwich City’s players felt following their 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United on Saturday should be used in the right way in an effort to create a different outcome against Southampton next weekend, Daniel Farke says.
“It’s quite important to feel this disappointment and pain because there is no replacement for wins and points,” he told canaries.co.uk after the game. “It’s also important not to be too down. We played 120 minutes at Tottenham and the lads were fantastic.
“Even today, in a really tough away game, they showed in many periods how good they are and how much they can be in control, but sadly on this level you have to use the chances we had and be switched on in every moment, otherwise you can lose a game.
“We’re all disappointed because it’s a setback in terms of earning the right to stay in this league for next season. We travel away in a sad mood.”
Asked for what he put the result down to, Farke said that a clinical edge in front of goal was missing, as was an alertness defensively, and that’s what proved costly at Bramall Lane.
“I can’t ask the lads for much more than just to be a bit more effective. Sheffield United is an unbelievably difficult place to go and I think we won each and every statistic in terms of possession, shots, shots on target, duels, aerial duels, but the most important statistics are goals.
“In the first 20 minutes, it was a close game and we should have been in the lead because Teemu had a great chance three or four yards out and he hit the post. Then there was a period when they put pressure on with crossing situations.
“We reacted in the wrong way. You automatically think that, because of the crosses, you have to dig in and sit deeper, but no, you have to be brave to put more pressure on the ball and defend them man against man.
“Otherwise, they overload the wings and sometimes when you’re not one hundred percent switched on you concede. The 20 minutes before half-time weren’t perfect, but we then showed great character in the second half.
“We changed our base formation, made offensive substitutions and took lots of risks but I can’t explain how we didn’t score in the chance with Mario and Josip. It’s unbelievable that the ball wasn’t over the line.
“In football, it’s fine margins because if we came away with the equaliser, everyone would say ‘what a week’ and ‘great point on the road’. We would have deserved the goal, but because we didn’t score it it’s a big blow.”
Farke rarely tends to make substitutions at half-time, but that’s exactly what he did when Josip Drmic came on for Todd Cantwell during the interval on Saturday.
“We changed to a formation we’re not used to – a 4-4-2 diamond and it worked quite well,” he explained. “The lads were fantastic, and we played man against man to put pressure on the defence. You can’t do that in every moment, but today we had to because there was nothing to lose anymore.
“Sometimes, when you go more offensive you are open to the counter, but we weren’t because we controlled everything. We created several situations, so many compliments - especially after such an exhausting night at Tottenham - to show this reaction.
“I can’t ask the lads for more, just to use their chances. Tim didn’t have to make many saves today. There were only two or three situations. The only real chance they had was the goal. We will keep our nerves and keep going.”
That level-headed nature is what City will take into another huge game at Carrow Road in seven days’ time, having not got too carried away following recent wins against top opposition.
“We weren’t perfect against Leicester and Spurs,” Farke added. “We made mistakes and missed chances, but the outcome was different, so you are allowed to celebrate together. When you show a good performance but don’t have that effectiveness, it’s still important to stick together.
“We have to be self-critical and speak about a few things we could have done better. It’s easy to show unity when you win, but I think it’s important to show character when you have a disappointing outcome and to judge a game with a calm and level head.
“When we have to criticise the lads after a performance like Manchester United away, I have to punish them a bit but today, what they did during the week was more or less fantastic, sadly without the perfect outcome.”