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Posts posted by Petriix

  1. Ultimately it's about picking up the points. We're simply not scoring the goals required to win the games needed to stay up. So far.

    Tuesday is massive in terms of our overall position. Win and we're almost back on track. Lose and we're bottom again. But it's more about getting to the magic number of 10 wins.

    We have 12 games left against current bottom half teams, 6 home and 6 away. If we win half of them, we'll have to pick up at least another 2 wins from top half sides.

    It's a monumental task. Not impossible but unlikely. Those missed chances really come back to bite. We've got to start taking them soon, otherwise we'll be cut adrift before long. 

  2. I'll hold my hands up. I was convinced that the 3 man midfield, without a dedicated number 10, was flawed. I was wrong.

    Our midfield problems seem to have been solved simply by getting the wide AMs to actually track their men and having the central midfielders mainly stay more central.

    It seems they're capable of letting one of them get forward without losing positional discipline and still being there to mop up and prevent breaks.

    I'm struggling to work out if it's just a motivational thing where the players are simply working harder and more cohesively, or whether the subtle tactical switches with a different style of training are more significant.

    Whatever, it's working so far. Dean Smith has transformed the midfield in 1 and a half games in a way that Farke couldn't in 11.

    • Like 2

  3. All seem like great ideas. We'd suffer more than most from the reduction in parachute payments. Also, because we're probably the best club in terms of wage structure around relegation, it would likely level the playing field in that regard as well.

    At the moment we're able to milk the void between the PL and the Championship precisely because of our astute adaptation to our unique financial position. These ideas would bring many other (less well run) clubs into line with us.

    • Like 1

  4. 44 minutes ago, Robert N. LiM said:

    I thought it was interesting that Smith praised his tenacity as much as his creativity. He clearly really likes him as a player, but is judging him on both facets, as well he should.

    Yes, I really like that. And I'm really happy that he started (and will hopefully continue to do so). If he keeps developing the complete game then he'll be an incredible player. I just hope that the positional stuff comes quickly.

    • Like 1

  5. On 21/11/2021 at 10:13, Robert N. LiM said:

    Thought the game showed Gilmour's weaknesses as much as his strengths. Completely understand why Farke left him out. Equally, if we're to survive we need our most creative players on the pitch: if Smith can get him playing as he did in the second half, that alone will probably justify the change in coach.

    Exactly this. Our midfield was as shambolic as ever in the first half and Gilmour produced a couple of perfect moments to demonstrate his limitations - in particular careering into the Southampton half to close down the man with the ball, leaving an unmarked player free to receive the pass and run unchallenged into our box (who Gilmour half-heartedly pursued).

    He also committed such a weak foul at one point that the player was able to stay on his feet and pass the ball on. It's so important in those situations to use the foul to stop the play so you absolutely have to leave the man on the floor.

    He seemed to be a lot better in the second half so maybe he's learning quickly.

    • Like 1

  6. I'll always complain about aimlessly hitting the ball long the majority of the time. Passing should always be the default option. If teams overcommit to the press then going longer becomes higher percentage and higher reward, but we can gain a significant advantage by passing through congested areas.

    It's about intelligently reading the situation and making better choices. We've been quite negative for much of this season. We'll only win by trusting our ability and going for it.

    • Like 2

  7. 8 hours ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:


    I thought Normann looked a little lost and restricted in his restrained role.

    I think the coach is right to play 2 pivots - and I think with what we’ve got they have to be Normann and McClean - if he wants to play Gilmour at all. 

    The corollary would be a question for the recruitment as to why we don’t have  2 Skipp-a-likes (or absolutely, crucially 1 at this level, given our relative station).

    The further point would be - as you said - what you lose elsewhere by giving this strategic padding to Gilmour. It is not only what you lose from Normann, it is also what you lose from the different instructions you have to give the 3/4 players - be it Rashica, Cantwell, Tzolis, Dowell et al.

    Strategically the answer will always be Sargent, because of his defensive work rate and good defensive positioning (which is considerably better than Gilmours btw). This however means - in my view - that you are unbalanced, as you either play Sargent as a 10 and let him cover ground (the likely best option) or you forever shoe-horn him from wide, where he is diligent, though unsilky and clearly finds it hard to get into shooting positions from wide. 


    I thought Gilmour was vastly better in the second half. He benefited from a generally higher midfield around him but did the defensive duties well after the brake. Rashica was also far better defensively when he switched sides.

    While Normann and McLean were largely anonymous, they were fairly solid in the centre of the park. Perhaps they could have offered slightly more support to the overloaded flanks at times in the first half, but the double pivot worked well in my opinion.

    Sargent demonstrated perfectly what that wide midfield role entails. Whoever plays there should embody that desire to work hard in both attack and defence.

    It bodes well for Smith's tenure that he achieved more with the midfield in that second half than Farke managed in the whole of the season until his departure.

    • Like 2

  8. 40 minutes ago, Badger said:

    It wasn't Rashica's or Max's fault - they were both working hard, but Southampton kept on overloading us on the right, leaving them 3 against 2. One man cannot mark and track the runs of two men. They needed more support from the midfield (Gilmour?).

    That's not how I saw it. Several times their number 24 (Elyounoussi) ran untracked into the box while Rashica was jogging back without picking up anyone.

    As I said, I don't really mind which one of the two he tracks, but it's pretty simple football tactics that your right sided fullback and midfielder need to track their left sided counterparts when out of possession. If the fullback is picking up the opposite fullback then the midfielder must stay goal-side of his opposite number. 

    Yes, the DMs also need to provide cover. But, if the overload keeps happening, you have to look at who hasn't tracked their man.

  9. 37 minutes ago, astro said:

    I’m not sure it was a case of Rashica not tracking his runners, it was a lack of communication between him, Aarons and Gilmour that left their No.2 in acres of space for most of the first half. Max was constantly getting pulled into the centre whilst Rashica was trying to press. It needed Gilmour to press himself, or track the No.2 - but all to often he was drifting around in space not really doing much and easily getting bypassed. He had a much better second half, but I do think that was because of Sargent’s industry giving him more of a chance to shine. 

    Leaving their fullback unmarked wasn't the real issue. It was Rashica consistently failing to track the runner from midfield whenever Max went to cover the fullback. While it would normally fall to the wide midfielder to cover the opposite fullback when out of possession, you absolutely have to pick up *someone*. It was poor from Rashica however you look at it. 

  10. 17 minutes ago, Rich T The Biscuit said:

    Cantwell was not unlucky to be singled out, he was terrible and completely off the pace.

    Apart from getting involved in one decent attack and generally tracking back quite well (which is more than Rashica did - he kept failing to track his man). Yes, Cantwell was off the pace, but not really more so than Gilmour or Rashica.

    Sargent was a vast improvement.

  11. Hats off to Dean Smith, because that's exactly what he did. That first half was a shambles aside from scoring with our only effort. We were completely outplayed in midfield with the three advanced midfielders all guilty of failing to track their men repeatedly.

    How it was 1-1 at half time I still don't understand. There were some fleeting moments when we had the ball but, while we were clearly trying to be more compact and harder to break down out of possession, we gave them so much space and so much time on the ball.

    Cantwell was perhaps unlucky to be singled out but he obviously lacks match fitness so it was an understandable substitute. It was an inspired move but, it wasn't just the change in personnel, the whole midfield was transformed at half time.

    Sargent gave Southampton a real problem. He pressed, harried, fought for the ball and held it up well. When we lost the ball he tracked back with pace and determination. Where Rashica had been frequently caught out in the first half (before swapping flanks at half time), Sargent was solid.

    Gilmour was excellent in the second half really working off the ball and linking up play. But it was the defensive work that stood out to me. He put in blocks, made intelligent fouls and tracked his man consistently in a way I've not seen him do before.

    We were somehow both more defensively solid and a far greater attacking threat. The midfield went from shambolic in the first half to organised, disciplined and dynamic in the second half.

    Who knows what Dean Smith said at half time, but it was a real transformation.

    • Like 4

  12. 15 hours ago, pete said:

    3 at the back and back to 2 CB's.

    Zonal Marking and back to man to man.

    Creativity in the middle more than the singular reliance on Normann provided by Todd and Billy.

    A midfield capable of protecting the defence.

    Selections based on ability and not favouritism.

    Proper man management and not singling individuals out for banishment without cause.

    And a wish list of more goals and clean sheets are a requisite.

    Not much to ask for but little of this under Farke at PL level.  Heresy I know but however good he was his past his sell by date.  ..

    You've lost the continuity of the post. It starts asking 'are we going to see the end of' then lists a couple of things that we might stop doing, but then goes on with a list of things we might do.

    Maybe change it to 'are we going to see...' then add 'the end of' to the first two items?

    • Like 1

  13. 11 hours ago, PurpleCanary said:

    This post and your follow-up are overly pessimistic. I assume we will get relegated this season, and I very much doubt your assertion that the appointment of Smith means Webber believes we can stay up. I am sure Webber thinks Smith will give us a better chance than a seemingly totally shot Farke, but the choice is probably as much about promotion next season as anything.

    Club in crisis and all continuity gone? Don't see either of those. It seems Smith very much buys into and fits the role Farke played of head coach, with a continuing belief in good football rather than hoofball. Based on comments from several Villa fans, and on statistics, it could be Smith is actually a coach better able to exist in the Premier League than Farke.

    If relegated we will probably lose all the loan players, and  one or both of Cantwell and Aarons, and there will be some hard decisions to take. One priority will be to accept that Pukki is not and will not again be, even in the Championship, the player he once was, and find a 20-goal a season striker. Another may focus on Krul.

    But we will potentially have Placheta, Rashica and Tzolis as attackers, and Sargent as a striking back up, and Hanley, Gibson and Omobamidele in central defence. Plus young players coming up, such as Mumba, and the likes of McCallum currently out on loan. And despite Gilmour we will still be a club to which EPL managers are willing to loan players.


    Fair enough. I'm probably just setting my expectations low to avoid disappointment. There are definitely some positives and lots of potential. I just think we've departed radically from the things that set us apart from the rest of the Championship clubs.

    10 hours ago, Robert N. LiM said:

    I've seen this a lot, but have rarely (never?) seen anyone suggest who this might have been. I have my doubts that a £20 million player with appropriate wages would have come to a club that was signing him and no one else. "Hi, welcome to Norwich, please keep us up."

    I'd have thought that to convince that sort of player to come, you'd have to convince them that you're signing a couple of other players of his calibre. I have a suspicion that, at this stage in the club's development, buying extremely promising players at about the £10 million mark is just where we are.

    Yes, this is the obvious hole, and from the outside seems completely bizarre. 

    But it struck me the other day that we've never really managed to fill that position. I remember Gary Holt looking outstanding in the Championship and out of his depth in the Prem. In more recent seasons we've ended up with Tettey there because whoever we've bought turned out not to be an upgrade. I wonder whether it's a deceptively difficult position to fill. Again, I've not seen anyone suggest who this Skipp replacement should have been. Skipp himself? If, as I suspect, we couldn't have got him for £15 million (someone who'd never played in the Prem) it does suggest that a guaranteed success in that role would have been very expensive.

    You're probably right. But that means selling Buendia was a worse idea than it appeared. I was prepared to accept it on the grounds that we could improve the squad by reinvesting the money. If that was impossible then we should never have let him go.

    Skipp was pretty hard to replace, but we had to try harder than PLM. 

    • Like 1

  14. 44 minutes ago, Robert N. LiM said:

    Really good post and a welcome reality check. I don't think the situation is quite as desperate as you seem to, but I do agree that anyone expecting Dean Smith to solve everything is going to be disappointed.

    The word 'crisis' is interesting. Its original meaning is 'judgment' and I think that's exactly what we're facing: judgment time. Where does the problem lie: with the coach we've just replaced, the summer recruitment, or the 'model'? I suspect the truth is a combination of all three, that Smith will get more out of these players, that it probably won't be quite enough because the squad's not good enough*, but that we couldn't really have expected to have bought much better in the summer given the resources at our disposal.

    *It's interesting that both Dean Smith and Webber are adamant the squad is good enough. Obviously there's an element of Mandy Rice Davies here, but do we really think Smith would have taken the job if he thought we were already doomed? That's the straw I'm clutching.


    I'd say the decision to sack Farke very much suggests that Webber believes we can stay up. I think he's being optimistic. Realistically we've already lost too many of the target games that needed winning to make survival possible. I'd be exceptionally happy to be proven wrong and there are som viable (but unlikely) scenarios where I might be.

    I'm not certain Dean Smith needs to believe we'll stay up. He obviously needs to say it, but he's in a win-win situation. If we go down, no one will blame him.

    Regarding the summer recruitment: the simple answer is yes, we could have expected to have a better first team than we do. Sargent, Rashica and Tzolis cost close to the Buendia money combined and have contributed zero goals and zero assists in the league. If we'd have signed one single £20m player with appropriate wages then we'd have been way better off.

    We completely failed to replace Skipp. Another £15m on a dedicated defensive midfielder would have given us a solid core to build on. PLM is no upgrade on Rupp or McLean.

    Maybe thing will start to click. There's bags of potential in the squad. We just don't have the luxury of being able to wait any longer for it to start working.

    • Like 2

  15. 7 hours ago, TeemuVanBasten said:

    ...if he took us down and a Buendia-less Norwich City found ourselves outside of the top 6 come November next season...

    I'd say it's extremely wishful thinking to assume that we'll find ourselves anywhere other than a little below the top six in the Championship in a year's time. I hope that we're not, but I wouldn't bet against the possibility.

    We've seen too much change and too little belief. All continuity is gone and we're starting a fresh. We've been punching so far above our weight for so long by being something much bigger than the sum of our parts - a cohesive unit, all on the same page, working with and for each other - that people have become deluded about our realistic position in the pecking order. 

    It would take something staggeringly special for Dean Smith to get the same (or more) from this disjointed squad. Keeping us up would be a miracle. Getting things back on track after relegation would be a massive achievement.

    I'd love to be wrong, and I'll be supporting the team as much as ever, but it seems to me that the club is in crisis after blowing our biggest ever transfer budget on some seriously average (or below) players.

    Not that Farke would have been likely to do any better. He lost his nerve and abandoned his philosophy, which was all he really had. Just don't assume a change of manager will undo the damage. 

    • Like 1

  16. 9 minutes ago, GJL Mid-Norfolk Canary said:

    Less playing out from the back and putting ourselves in trouble...

    Given that we've been playing hoofball for the last couple of months, I can't envisage what 'less playing it out from the back' would actually look like. Indeed, I sincerely hope to see vastly more 'playing it out from the back'.

    However, as he's only just met the team, I'd be extremely surprised if we don't go with something very similar to the system that we used to beat Brentford.

    • Like 1

  17. 2 hours ago, Number9 said:

    * Herr Farke took us to two promotions, how we enjoyed the excitement and glory as we ascended whilst Ipswich plummeted the depths.

    * Herr Farke was grossly inexperienced and, along with his coaching team, learnt on the job although we all laughed along with him.

    Time was to expose his limitations sadly as managing 'difficult' players off the pitch, developing tactics on the pitch to succeed in the Premier League, even apparently simple topics like effective substitutions seemed to highlight a worrying ntransigence.

    * Now I appreciate that some of you lovely posters will not have any suggestion heard of Farke having limitations but, please move on. NCFC is moving on,  our tactics will move on,  and likely now we will move up the table to survive the season. 

    It's time for you to stop looking back, turn round and face the future. 

    Herr Farke has gone!

    Nah, we can fondly look back on Farke's time at the club with pride and nostalgia. It's highly unlikely that we'll see another season like the last in my lifetime (or even the previous Championship title).

    We can be both ecstatic at Farke's Championship success and baffled by his inability to crack the Premier League. No reason to forget. And, if the likely outcome of sacking him comes to pass, we will always look back and wonder.

    Everyone has limitations. You may be about to discover that the bigger limitations lie with the playing squad.

    • Like 2
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