Lack of depth is starting to hurt Farke’s strugglers
Norwich could not have prepared for injury list Brighton display their strength with 2-0 win
“I would prefer to have as many points as babies during this week,” declared Norwich City’s affable German manager, Daniel Farke.
The tally reads: Points 0, Babies 2 following new arrivals for Onel Hernandez and Kenny Mclean.
The only point the Canaries have collected since their memorable win over Manchester City in September was at Bournemouth and, after going down 2-0 at Brighton, no team has lost more Premier League games so far this season.
Norwich have spent the least of the promoted sides and suffered serious injuries to defenders Tim Klose, Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann while England Under-21 captain Ben Godfrey has only recently returned from a hernia operation.
“Not so many teams in world football have to accept three longterm injuries to centre-backs,” said Farke. “If we would have known before the transfer window was closed that there would be three long-term injuries we would have done something but you can’t prepare for this.”
Farke refused to give any guarantees that he would use the January transfer window to reinforce his squad, indicating that Norwich do not have the funds required to improve the team significantly.
“If I’m really honest, if we would have had the possibilities, we would have brought them in already in the summer because we are not naive. We know that if you are able to add some quality to the squad, you have a better chance to stay in this league. In order to add more quality we would have had to sign a player for £10million-£15million and we are not able to do this,” said Farke.
By contrast, Brighton, who claimed their third home win in succession with victory over Norwich, are looking increasingly solid at the back and their squad strength was underlined when Shane Duffy could be called from the bench to replace Adam Webster in the first half.
Graham Potter is awaiting news of Webster’s ankle injury but Duffy and Lewis Dunk is a combination that has served Brighton well since their return to the Premier League.
“He’s not happy because he wants to play,” said Potter of Duffy. “But I wouldn’t expect anything else.”
Captain Dunk was assured in his handling of Norwich’s Teemu Pukki and, although he was left out of Gareth Southgate’s most recent England squad, Potter is pleased with his form.
“We’re delighted with him [Dunk]. He can defend the box as well as anybody but his composure to bring things out of the sky and to start an attack off again is at a real high level. It keeps the pressure on the opposition. He’s maturing and as a captain, he’s growing into that role. He’s getting better and better.”
Another strength for Dunk is his versatility and Potter has already used him in a back three and in a more orthodox back four this season, adding: “He could probably play holding midfield as well to be fair – but don’t tell him that! He’s a top player.”