Nor­wich’s win­ning run goes on in style

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Har­ring­ton

NOR­WICH man­ager Daniel Farke wants his side to em­brace their sta­tus as Cham­pi­onship front-run­ners af­ter win­ning a sixth con­sec­u­tive league game.

The high-fly­ing Canaries kept their pro­mo­tion ri­vals at arm’s length with a ruth­less vic­tory over Swansea at the Lib­erty Sta­dium.

Only five points sep­a­rate the top six as the com­pe­ti­tion heads into the con­gested Christ­mas pe­riod, but Farke has told his side to not look back as they aim to re­turn to the Pre­mier League af­ter a two year ab­sence.

“To be at the top with so many points af­ter 18 games is out­stand­ing, but it’s no co­in­ci­dence,” said the Nor­wich boss.

“A third of the sea­son is done and we’re in a good po­si­tion, but we know each and ev­ery win is based on hard work.

“We know we can’t lose the ground un­der our feet and en­joy our­selves too much be­cause ev­ery game is so dif­fi­cult.”

Farke’s men took full ad­van­tage of a de­fen­sive hor­ror show to go 3-0 up thanks to a Mike van der Hoorn own goal and strikes from Emil­iano Buen­dia and Marco Stieper­mann.

Daniel James scored his first league goal to give the home sup­port­ers a glim­mer of hope be­fore half-time, but that was quickly ex­tin­guished by Nor­wich striker Teemu Pukki.

The vis­i­tors ar­rived at Lib­erty Sta­dium to face a Swansea side on their best run of form un­der Gra­ham Pot­ter, but that was soon to brought to an end.

It took only 18 min­utes for Farke’s men to un­lock the Swansea de­fence and stamp their au­thor­ity on the game.

Stieper­mann charged down­field and played a del­i­cate through ball to Pukki.

The Canaries marks­man looked like he was ready to un­leash a shot on goal but sent a per­fectly weighted ball across the front of goal, and the scram­bling van der Hoorn stuck out a leg to di­vert it into his own net.

Swansea were their own worst en­e­mies again six min­utes later when Ber­sant Celina came deep to re­ceive a short goal kick from Er­win Mul­der.

The Man­ches­ter City academy grad­u­ate was quickly robbed of the ball by Buen­dia, who took his time to pick out the bot­tom cor­ner to make it 2-0, but the league lead­ers were not done there.

Their in­ter­play came to the fore again when Pukki used his head to ca­ress the ball back to Buen­dia, who found Max Aarons in space.

The right-back sent the ball across the face of goal to give Stieper­mann a tap-in to all-but se­cure three points.

The Swansea fans fi­nally had some­thing to shout about five min­utes be­fore half-time when Krul spilled a long-range Kyle Naughton ef­fort and then par­ried Oli McBurnie’s fol­low-up at­tempt to Daniel James, who passed the ball into an empty net for his first league goal.

Pot­ter sent Wil­fried Bony and Martin Ols­son into the ac­tion at half-time as Swansea at­tempted to close the gap to a sin­gle goal.

But their in­tro­duc­tions could not make up for any de­fen­sive frail­ties as Nor­wich scored a fourth af­ter 61 min­utes.

Onel Her­nan­dez beat Con­nor Roberts and gave the ball to Pukki, who shot into the bot­tom cor­ner from eight yards out.

The win puts Nor­wich on 36 points and keeps them ahead of their pro­mo­tion ri­vals go­ing into Tues­day’s trip to Hull City.

Swansea had won three of their last four matches, but pressed the self de­struct but­ton to en­sure they would not be re­turn­ing to the play-off places.

“To im­prove you have to have a bit of suf­fer­ing and go through set­backs and it’s how we re­spond as a group and as a team,” said Swans man­ager Pot­ter. “We will find out about that. There’s no time for us to feel sorry for our­selves, we have a big game and a tough game com­ing up in mid­week.

“It was a tough af­ter­noon. The score­line makes it an un­com­fort­able af­ter­noon for us.

“All credit to Nor­wich, over the course of the game they de­served to win.

“But I think we con­trib­uted a lit­tle bit more to their per­for­mance than we would like.”

PUNCH­ING HIS WEIGHT: Emi Buen­dia cel­e­brates scor­ing

PIC­TURE: PA Im­ages

MORE TO COME: Nor­wich City’s Emi Buen­dia scores their sec­ond

LAST ONE: Nor­wich’s Teemu Pukki en­joys scor­ing the fourth

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