It was another historic night in Norwich City’s history as Daniel Farke’s side beat Tottenham Hotspur on penalties in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday evening.
The City Head Coach was of course in high spirits after the game, delighted that he and his team had created an occasion for the Canaries to cherish for years to come.
“I can’t guarantee whether we will stay in the league,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that we will win the FA Cup, but one thing is for sure – by doing this on our way we have created memories. All our supporters will remember this evening in decades.
“We started playing football not to think about the league table, but to create memories, so I’m delighted we were able to create such a fantastic night.
“I’m pretty happy for our fans and pretty delighted for everyone who is connected with Norwich City. I’m happy with my lads today because we created a fantastic evening performance-wise. It’s our biggest success in the FA Cup for nearly 30 years.
“It was a fantastic moment because we’re playing in the middle of the week, sitting at the bottom of the league table, so to have this support – and we could have sold even more tickets – this club has such a unity and spirit.
“The lads deserve it. Everyone who works for this club and represents this club deserve it. We have such a spirit in this dressing room and this club that we deserve evenings like this, so I’m delighted tonight.”
That spirit in the club that Farke alluded to was demonstrated on Tuesday when a member of the club’s backroom staff spent his birthday working on City’s pre-match preparations.
“Yesterday it was the birthday of our kit man, Pete Dye,” Farke explained, “and we told him he could have a day off celebrating, but no, he wanted to be with us and travelled with John Howes early to decorate the dressing room with Norwich branding so the lads feel at home.
“Norwich City is a part of his family and that’s the feeling we have with everyone at Carrow Road. We stick together in every moment and, with this spirit, you can sometimes create something magical like we did tonight.”
As for the game itself, Farke said he was pleased with how his side handled the challenges Spurs posed.
“It was a complicated game,” he said. “Tottenham are a top side and they were focused on this game because it’s more or less the best chance for them to win a trophy this season. Jose Mourinho is always concentrated and wants to win trophies, so we had to be smart in our tactical behaviour and unbelievably disciplined, but also mentally strong.
“We said that there could be some setbacks during the game and some difficult periods, but that’s when we have to show bravery to stick to our plans and that’s what the lads brought on the pitch. I just have compliments for the performance from a tactical point of view and from a technical point of view.”
After 120 minutes, the full-time whistle was blown and the tension of a penalty shootout beckoned, but City showed huge mental strength to come out on top.
“The penalty shootout was a difficult moment, facing the away end,” Farke added. “For Adam Idah, it was one of his first appearances and Todd Cantwell was pretty focused with his penalty. I told them before the shootout, ‘I can’t tell you what will happen in the next weeks or if we’ll win the FA Cup, but one thing is for sure, we will definitely win this penalty shootout because we have the sense and energy on the pitch’.
“I told them that even if we went back, like we were after the first penalty, in the end we would definitely win. The canaries were flying, and the yellow shirts were celebrating because the lads didn’t let me down with my words.
“They were focused and switched on, so great compliments to my whole squad, especially Tim and my penalty takers.”
Looking ahead, City now face a quarter-final at home to either Derby County or Manchester United, depending on who wins that fixture tomorrow night.
“We’re looking forward to being one of the last eight teams and we want to go into the next round, without any doubt. I heard it’s a home game, so after three really difficult away games I’m pretty glad that we’re able to present a home game and spend another fantastic night in our living room.
“Hopefully, the floodlights will be on and Carrow Road will be buzzing. Right now, if I’m honest, after the final whistle and the last penalty, my concentration is already on Sheffield United. We have to recover quickly and smartly.
“The concentration is one hundred percent back on the league games, then in a few weeks we’ll have another magic night hopefully at Carrow Road.”