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Daniel Farke: We lacked brutality in the final third

2 February 2021

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke accepted that the Canaries weren’t clinical enough in front of goal during Tuesday’s 0-0 draw away to Millwall.

“We’re just happy if we win a game,” he said. “It’s not like after a draw we are dancing on the table in the dressing room because we came here in order to win, but if you don’t score a goal you have to make sure you return with at least a clean sheet and that’s what we did.

“For 75 minutes, we were the dominant side on the pitch. It’s difficult to create chances against them because they dug in and were deep out of a 5-2-3 formation, so that’s the reason they’re also on an unbeaten run at the moment.

“The pitch is difficult for a team that tries to create and dominate the game. I think 90 percent of our game was quite good in our build up and midfield play. We were lacking the brutality in the final third.

“Some mistakes and decision making in the final third were not ruthless enough in order to score. That was why we couldn’t find a way to win this game. When a side is defending that deep, you have to make sure to open them a little bit.

“We lacked a bit of this decision making and quality in the final third. For the last 15 minutes, they tried to bring tall players in, create some set-pieces and try to influence the referee a little bit asking for penalties in situations they were nowhere near penalties, which is quite normal.

“In this situation, you have to dig in to show some steel and resilience to return with a clean sheet.

“In the last two games, we’ve found it difficult to create enough and score goals in difficult games. We accept this and you have to make sure you don’t lose and that’s what we did today.”

From a defensive point of view, Farke was mostly pleased with what he saw from his side.

“In the first 80 minutes, Tim didn’t have a save to make. In terms of defending behaviour and controlling their counters it was a really good team performance, not just the back row.

“In the last ten minutes it was a bit hectic and we showed some nerves. They nearly scored because Kieran Dowell was overexcited and wanted to play one-touch the ball back and we nearly conceded, but apart from that you can’t say they created chances against us.

“There were some set-pieces and they were asking for penalties. This is the Championship, it’s the toughest league in the world and you will have some periods when you find it difficult to score.

“At the moment, we’re the fifth best attacking side in all the games before and have always scored two goals and created many situations.

“In the last two games we faced two opponents - Middlesbrough, who we played 30 minutes against in underload - and here at The Den where it’s always difficult, especially when Millwall sit that deep.

“We didn’t show enough in order to score. You have to accept these periods during the season and we have to be more committed, ruthless, proactive in the final third and spot on with our decision making. If we add this, I’m sure we’ll find the net again soon and give ourselves the chance to win the game.”

City are no strangers to facing teams that play defensively this season, but Farke adds that it’s vital his side don’t lose the types of games where they fail to find a breakthrough.

“We have 46 games and in more or less every game we are the favourite, even against the best sides. Watford were just sitting deep against us, even Bournemouth. It’s 46 times our task to open the opponent and score the first goal.

“In many games, we found ways to create chances to score goals. Against Middlesbrough I felt we didn’t create enough. Today, we created many situations in the final third but our decision making wasn’t spot on.

“You have to find the answer in most of the games and then you win games. You have to make sure in the other games when you don’t score that you don’t make any mistakes in defence and don’t lose it."

Norwich now face Swansea City who are second in the Championship on Friday night, but the boss says he and the team will be treating it like every other match.

“We’re not too carried away. It’s not a final or something like this. Swansea could concentrate on the game for the whole week. For us it’s third third game in six days and difficult away travel because the fixture was moved to Friday for TV.

“We can’t choose so no complaints about this. We have to be smart in our recovery now and I want my team to show the same attitude in terms of resilience and show some steel in order to grind out a result over there.

“I like this mentality to stay unbeaten. I guarantee if we stay unbeaten for the whole season from now on we will be in the top two, there’s no doubt about this. When you win one game and draw two games and end up with seven wins and twelve draws, we’ll have enough points to finish in the top position so it’s important.

“We play the games to win them, that’s our mentality, but if not you have to dig in and grind out a result and that’s what we did today and will try to do on Friday.”

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