The international hiatus is nearing its conclusion, with the return of club football back on the horizon once more. The Championship trail begins again.
Progression is this seasons buzzword at Norwich City. The need to improve on an indifferent and underwhelming opening period is pertinent.
With supporter’s frustration growing with every passing game, there is an apathetic feeling becoming ever more tangible on the terraces. Farke’s style of play has been criticised due to its predictable and one-dimensional nature, but now supporters will be demanding real improvement.
The first signs of vocal frustration was evident from the away terrace at Portman Road.
Furthermore, the manner of the defeat against Leeds United infuriated numerous supporters who released their anger via the echo chambers of social media. In terms of mood, everything felt very pessimistic towards both Farke and the club generally.
Patience felt as though it was wearing thin; the direction in which the club were heading on pitch was being questioned.
Any belief that Norwich can progress on an upwards trajectory is done so on guesswork and hope rather than empirical evidence and reason, thus far there is little to suggest major improvement is in the offing.
Although, there has been no Millwall, we are yet to experience a major crisis similar to the many witnessed during last campaign.
The panic and crisis like situation that fixture created last season, culminating in the signing of Grant Hanley, is yet to be replicated in this campaign to date. Norwich have been more controlled to date. Less calamitous shouldn’t be an aim, instead, it should be improvement.
With an East Anglian Derby out of the way, there’ll be hope that this break will enable a mass re-group in search for momentum. Farke needs to discover equilibrium within his side, something he has failed to strike upon since his appointment a year ago.
At times, Norwich have looked resilient and resolute defensively whilst lacking a cutting edge to affect games offensively. On the contrary, when Norwich have looked lively offensively, this has been at the sacrifice of defensive solidity.
That balance has been difficult to strike under Daniel Farke.
Farke’s possession-based philosophy is yet to fully convince his critics that it can be fully adaptable to the rigours of Championship football.
Possession football possesses multiple definitions.
A lateral, predictable and seemingly programmed style whereby the football is passed without purpose and energy is counterproductive. Possession for the sake of it doesn’t gain territory or penetrate defensive shapes deployed by opposing sides.
When played effortlessly, with freedom and purpose it is both aesthetically pleasing and effective. Norwich’s movement off the ball has been consistently poor, resulting in the player on the ball having to revert to passing backwards.
To his credit, there has been more variation in Norwich’s passing this season. They have looked for more direct passes and attempted to operate off of the second ball to get creative players like Teemu Pukki, Onel Hernandez and Emi Buendia on the ball.
Off the pitch, Colney is being rejuvenated and foundations of longevity surrounding the academy, including the processes undertaken within it. These are undoubtedly a positive step in the future of this club. However, those hardy supporters who depart with large contents hold high expectations of what they deserve to be seeing considering the money they pay.
Seeing Norwich succumb to teams at home isn’t what punters wish to consume.
They demand fight and effort at the very least. Nobody who adheres themselves to Norwich City expects constant victories, but they do expect the aforementioned qualities as a minimum. Getting beaten by a superior outfit is forgivable but placing 11 men behind the ball at Carrow Road simply won’t win Farke any friends.
Cardiff was a performance that undoubtedly brought Farke some time, it released pressure from that East Anglian Derby regarding his job security whilst demonstrating that his approach can be successful.
The quality of that Cardiff side can be disputed but that was a Premier League outfit, if only by name.
Farke needs to repeat those performances more consistently. What made that fixture special was the quota of academy players on the pitch. To his credit, not many coaches opt to give an 18-year-old his league debut in the heat of battle at Portman Road. That takes bottle and character, Farke has both in an abundance.
Last season Norwich were on the brink of financial crisis.
They required a coach who could raise the funds to ensure they survived. Farke developed talent and added much needed zeros onto fees received. His remit was to develop and sell talent in order to keep the club afloat due to the blackhole left by the conclusion of parachute payments.
Now that ship has been steadied, attention turns to on pitch matters.
Talk of financial stability and long-term security are resolved, and now supporters want to see seismic improvement on the pitch. In a year of Farke’s coaching, progression on the pitch has been minimal, but Norwich do have more assets in younger talent emerging into the first team.
His logical pragmatism is all about repetition in the hope that eventually it will lead to success.
This division demands spontaneity to outwit teams, it requires guts and selfless endeavour as opposed to a theory-based ideology that looks above what the current crop of players can achieve based on the evidence of his 12-month period in charge.
Education is important.
Farke needs to illustrate he has learnt from the mistakes made last season whilst providing a more entertaining brand of football on the pitch. Football is an emotional game, it’s drowned in sentiment and raw feeling, those factors should be represented by teams or they will lack personality.
Teams always reflect their coaches, Norwich are no different.
They are pragmatic, realistic and intelligent, but also inconsistent, only display glimpses of talent and there are still question marks.
September feels like a huge month for Farke. Supporters are beginning to turn against a man they once hoped would bring the good times back to Carrow Road. Reading, QPR and Wigan all feel like must wins or Farke could not only lose the Canary nation, but also his job.