First-team

Daniel Farke: I just have compliments for the young lads

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke was disappointed to see his side lose 1-0 at Arsenal on Saturday afternoon, despite a promising display from the Canaries.

“We’re disappointed because we’re not playing for great performances, we’re playing for points,” he said. “Football is all about being effective.”

The Gunners took the lead when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appeared to score from an offside position, but VAR awarded them the goal.

“I haven’t watched it back,” Farke said. “Even if it was a mistake by VAR, it won’t change the outcome. The goal was given. I’m concentrating on the things we can influence and performance, spirit and commitment-wise it was top class.

“The first 15 minutes were tough, which I expected because of a tricky international break and a few changes, but we fought our way into the game. From minute 25, we were on the front foot and dominating possession into Arsenal’s half.

“We created many good situations but sadly missed the cutting edge in the final third to go into the lead.

“In the second half, we brought the game so much into their half and dominated. You always have to be awake because of the quality and pace of players like Aubameyang, Pepe, Saka and Smith-Rowe, who are always dangerous out of counter-attacks.

“We controlled all the situations quite well and then it was unbelievably unlucky, out of a questionable situation, to go down. Grant Hanley won the ball and it went against the arm of Saka. He stopped for one moment as he thought a free-kick was given. The scene developed to the situation with the goal when VAR was checking for a few minutes.

“I was pleased with our attitude. We brought many offensive players on the pitch, changed our base formation and had many set-pieces. We were close to equalising with Teemu in the last moments of the game. They had a few counter-attacks, which you have to accept when you take so many risks here at Arsenal.

“It was a tight game and I think the lads deserved to take something out of it but the outcome is a loss so we will be disappointed in the next few days.”

Andrew Omobamidele and Christos Tzolis both came into the side for their Premier League debuts as Farke made four changes to the team that faced Leicester City two weeks prior.

“We needed to make some changes today due to the load of my international players, for example Milot Rashica played many minutes in pre-season and had to work a lot against the ball on Wednesday,” he said.

“With Billy Gilmour, no other player has played more minutes in all competitions for us. He’s had so many for Scotland after never starting last season so we have to be a bit careful. I trust my whole squad.

“We needed a bit more pace against a really pacey, offensive team like Arsenal, so Andrew came in, who was excellent for the Republic of Ireland. He was excellent in his defending, calmness, positioning and the build-up.

“We play with such a young back row. Max Aarons is 21, Andrew 19 and Brandon 21. I want to see one other Premier League side who is that brave to do this. We have to because we can’t afford proven Premier League players for 25 million pounds, we have to develop them.

“Sometimes you have to be brave, give these lads their debuts and trust them. Brandon deserves lots of plaudits because of how he defended a player like Pepe with lots of quality, he was outstanding in many dangerous situations close to and in the box. I just have compliments for the young lads and they’re also disappointed because it’s not about their individual situations, it’s all about winning points.

“There are many positive things to take out of this game and on Monday we will regroup to make sure we have a good training week. We can’t bake any results, we have to accept in this league that if we are top in our performance and the likes of Man City and Liverpool are on top of their game, they will win these games. We just have to make sure that our performance is always top class and that we don’t leave anything in the tank.

“If we do this, then we give ourselves many chances in games in the future to win points. I’m pretty sure we will win many points on this level.”

The boss now has a full week of training ahead of him to get the team ready for the visit of Watford next weekend, as Ozan Kabak and Mathias Normann get to spend more time with the squad.

“I’m looking forward to having a proper week because it’s important to give the new lads a little bit of time to settle in and adapt to our processes and our game,” he said. “It’s good to have some time to work with them and I want to make sure we’re ready for the next home game.

“I want us to deliver such a performance like today and if we do this I think, with the backing of our supporters, we have a good chance to get off the mark.”

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