Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke expressed the importance of discipline and patience in his side’s late 1-0 win over Birmingham City on Tuesday, after admitting he feels it should have been a more comfortable scoreline.
After 24 shots and 73% possession, the boss was full of praise for his team’s determination in finding a much-deserved goal after a solid defensive display from Birmingham, adding the score could’ve been much higher.
“Birmingham under Aitor [Karanka], their defending behaviour was top," he said. "Since Aitor took over, all pre-season games, all cup games, all league games so far, no team has been able to score more than one goal against them.
“For us today, it was important to not let them have chances, so we thought the clean sheet would be important today and to be patient against this side. All the other games before, they have played in a 4-1-4-1 formation and today they defended with ten lads in a 5-4-1.
“No question about this win, it was more than deserved, more than 75% possession and we had 24 shots. I think we had a really, really good game. We controlled all of their counters and stayed disciplined and stayed patient.
“At the end, it’s important to find a way to win this game and thank God Mario Vrancic was there with an ice-cold finish after a good winning of the ball from Lukas Rupp and a good assist from Adam Idah.
“It’s not important to play each and every minute, but today Mario and Adam were involved, and we won as a team with a late goal.
“I’m pretty happy with the result and pretty delighted with the win, although it felt more like a 4-0 or 5-0 than just a 1-0, I’m happy we were capable to win this game.”
Looking to the bigger picture, the boss spoke highly of his team’s dominant statistics and optimistic mentality, despite the early setbacks.
“We have to say performance-wise; we have to deliver with quality and that’s what we’re doing. When I compare the statistics after six games from the 24 teams, we are number one in possession, number one in passing and number one in final third entries and shots. It’s not like we’re just enjoying possession, we’re also effective in creating chances.
“The only thing that was missing so far was to be more efficient and brutal to use our chances. When I think about a few situations in the first-half, of course we should have got a lead a bit earlier and then they have to open and sometimes you can use pace and space and be there with a counter and win the game even clearer.
“All in all, I have to say performance-wise we are on a good way, but also a good mentality. After a poor result like the back-to-back loss to Bournemouth and an undeserved loss to Derby, we didn’t get nervous, we got even more focused and stuck together.
“To answer with a clean sheet, it was important to stay patient. It’s annoying when you just attack, attack, attack and one team is just defending and blocking shots on the goal-line, but you have to make sure you’re still disciplined and doing the stuff that when you lose the ball, you’re controlling their counters and in a good position to win the ball back and prepare attacks without nerves.
"This mentality is remarkable and we’ve shown this several times already during this season and all I have to say is it’s early doors, we don’t have to overinterpret the start of the season, but it’s definitely a decent start and solid position to build on.
"Back-to-back wins are always good for the confidence and it’s good for the table, it’s also our first back-to-back win in ages, it feels like our first since our last promotion season.
“I’m delighted and happy with the lads, it’s not that easy when you play every three days after an exhausting performance against Rotherham. I’m happy with the performance, outcome and clean sheet.”
Before today, City’s last home win came against Leicester in February of the 2019-20 season. Acknowledging this, the boss wishes the supporters could be there to see the win, but says the first home is vital to the rest of the season.
“It feels like a long while ago [the last win at Carrow Road], at the moment the advantage is away because the supporters sadly aren’t around, but we can still feel a little more comfortable to play here at Carrow Road.
“We’re looking forward to having the supporters back pretty, pretty soon, but it’s also good to have the first home win under the belt with a clean sheet and a back-to-back win. We’re definitely heading into the right direction and it’s a solid position to build on.”