Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke described the Canaries 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday as the best win of the season after their second half comeback on Sunday afternoon.
The Owls took the lead early on through Jordan Rhodes, but Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell’s second half finishes were enough to take the win at Hillsborough Stadium.
Speaking in his post-match interview, Farke says the win was easily the Canaries best of the season against a side he expected to see fighting for a play-off position, praising the team for the character they showed to flip the result.
“That was really the best win of the season, sometimes you are there with a spotlight win and everyone praises you, or sometimes you quite comfortably win, like in the last one when you dominate the game from the first to last second with fluid football where you score many goals.
“This is a prize today, to win such games. After a difficult week because everyone praises us, all the other coaches are congratulating us to winning the title, it's not easy for the lads to keep this noise out.
"It was a difficult 12 o’clock kick-off here against Sheffield Wednesday who are fighting with a knife between their teeth to stay in this league on a difficult pitch. We started well, then all of a sudden gave away this goal, they scored the first.
“It’s also a quality side, they have the likes of Jordan Rhodes, Adam Reach, [Barry] Bannan, Josh Windass, Callum Paterson, Tom Lees, it’s not a side that should fight against relegation. They have the point deduction and all the other topics during this season but actually, it’s one of the most experienced and quality sides who should fight for the playoffs with such a team.
“It was a difficult pitch to dig in, they were committed with a spirited performance and it was absolutely difficult to turn the game. You can turn the game if you’re willing to invest, if you don’t lose the nerves, if you show great character and what character we showed today.
“What a response in the second half, especially after a difficult first half. We kept pushing on to turn this game, to win this game. We turned it with two fantastic goals but also showed this mentality to dig in. Of course, it wasn’t this brilliant night where we eased it quite comfortably, but these wins are the real prizes, and for me the best win of the season.”
Discussing his rotation of attacking midfielders through Kenny McLean, Lukas Rupp and Kieran Dowell, the City boss praised the players for breaking down Wednesday, despite their tight formation.
“In general, we played the last game to Luton a bit more flexibility in the middle of the park, sometimes Lukas Rupp drops a bit deeper, so that allows Kenny [McLean] to get closer to the opponent’s box and the other way round.
“It was a difficult game for the both of them today because after they got the lead, Sheffield were sitting unbelievably deep and compact, which isn’t easy to find the right spaces. So, it was important today to prepare for these situations a bit better and Lukas played his part in the second half.
“We equalised and got the feeling we wanted to bring in Kieran Dowell a bit more, a bit more of an offensive player compared to Lukas in this position. We weren't just happy with a draw, we wanted to win this game.
“Kieran was there with some nice touches, a nice shot, great body language, and will to win this game. It’s not just about these individual players, it’s about the team, and I’m quite happy with the team performance.”
Finally, discussing the impact of Pukki and Cantwell’s top-class strikes, Farke said the goals were a result of hard work and sheer determination, crediting the whole team for their fight.
“High quality finishes, no doubt about it. It’s important to prepare these situations a bit better compared to the first half and to dig in. The winning of the ball from Emi Buendia as the starting tackle was key in allowing Todd to be in such a position to finish, this came together today.
“The will to be committed, to fight really hard to prepare for this situation, then your quality can shine. If you’re not willing to fight hard and dig in, you have no chance to show your quality. Today, it was key to do the dirty stuff, to work hard and I have to praise my lads.”