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Kenny Foggo

All eyes on Farke

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90 minutes of Daniel Farke

It is Daniel Farke’s fourth pre-season as Norwich City manager — a feat only matched this century by Nigel Worthington.

Even harder to achieve than that would be a second promotion in three years. Championship clubs are not known for managerial patience. Norwich see it differently.

Their third friendly, and second while on tour in Germany, is against Dynamo Dresden, freshly relegated from the country’s second tier.

Delbruck’s Stadion Laumeskamp plays host. The state of this pitch for a summer friendly two years ago was already in Farke’s mind after their opening tour win in Verl. Upon arrival and inspection, it is decided the pitch is actually worse this time around.

The club’s joint majority shareholders, Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, flew in from Norwich earlier in the day. This will be their first game away from Colney since lockdown in March. There are teenagers playing on the adjacent artificial pitch.

But in reality, all eyes are on Farke: the man tasked with turning a desperate Premier League relegation into something more hopeful. The coach has been backed with a raft of new signings and, as yet, there have been no high-profile departures.

The Athletic spent the entire friendly watching and listening to Farke, with the rest of his players and staff sat in the gap. Here is how it unfolded…

Sixth minute: Early instructions revolve around Norwich’s two youngest players. Bali Mumba, 18, is on the far side from Farke. Josh Martin, also 18, is on the near side in a more advanced position. He has already been told to press forward before Mumba gets a simple: “Two yards, Bali. Two yards. Good. Good.”

Farke’s positional instructions are often for the full-back on the far side, even when possession is near him. Martin gets another instruction from Farke, telling him to look for the space between the Dresden centre-back and right-back, before Farke immediately switches his attention back to Mumba: “Bali, yes. Bali, yes!” he shouts as a trigger for Mumba to push forward. The third time he says it, it is louder and more aggressive, but the moment on the pitch has passed.

10th minute: An early booking for Tottenham loanee Oliver Skipp is ignored by Farke. The break in play instead brings another shout for Mumba: “Be brave, stay high.”

12th minute: Marco Stiepermann’s through ball sets Teemu Pukki clear. His finish reeks of confidence. It’s been a while. “Important,” says the watching Kenny McLean to one of his team-mates. Play has soon restarted. “Not too deep, Alex,” bawls Farke at Alex Tettey, who is once again standing it at centre-back as Timm Klose nurses a dead leg from training. Skipp is doing a noteworthy job in the defensive midfield role Tettey has vacated.

15th minute: Martin fails to make an aerial challenge twice in quick succession. Farke launches: “Josh, come on. Move to the ball, Josh. **** sake — wake up!”

17th minute: Martin’s next phases of attacking possession are much better, linking the play well and maintaining Norwich’s forward momentum. “Good Josh, well done. That’s much better.”

A more considered chat follows as the game continues: “Be brave, Josh. Keep running, Josh — just sometimes be not so predictable. Sometimes you need the running in behind. Either you get it or you switch it but don’t always be in the pocket.”

Within a second, Farke has switched his attention again: “Bali! Not behind the centre-backs. Up, up, up. Last row, up!”

21st minute: “OK, come on. Invest in the defence. Invest.” Skipp would later reveal Norwich had spent the day before working on their team defending. The habit of being stingy in defence is one Farke wants to re-establish after the hurt of relegation. They are yet to concede a goal in pre-season, although the level of the tests suggests that is as it should be.

22nd minute: Martin is in Farke’s good books now. He follows instructions to go high. “Yes, love it Josh. Love it. Good. Well done, Josh. All this space for Xavi. Good. Love it.” The ball never gets near the left-back Quintilla but Farke doesn’t mind that.

The attention on Martin continues: “Much better. Try to prepare with an individual change of direction, just to buy those one or two extra yards to get more space and change your direction, in order to make the game quicker,” Farke tells him. “Otherwise, it’s more difficult when it comes from behind.”

Minutes later, Martin is slow to offer support for a throw-in. “Josh, know our processes. Come on.”

All Farke’s talking towards the pitch is in English. He now turns away and shouts a series of sentences in German. It’s clear he saves his first language for his angriest outbursts. Less clear is who it’s directed at.

29th minute: “Love it, Ollie.” Skipp is doing well, especially given his early booking. He wins another tackle but Dresden winger Panagiotis Vlachodimos goes down with a scream. Skipp looks worried. “Hey, hey!” shouts Farke, before returning to German. It quickly becomes apparent such monologues are for the benefit of the German officials. This one certainly is as he defends his player. Skipp avoids a second booking.

35th minute: Ben Godfrey opts to play the ball inside as Norwich try to build from the back but he questions his passing choice. “Good decision, Ben,” Farke says. “Yes, it was right. Very good.”

42nd minute: Todd Cantwell has replaced Martin on Farke’s side of the pitch. Lukas Rupp helps cover the space behind him as Dresden break Norwich’s press. “Todd, Todd,” calls Farke. “First, I want you to chase the full-back. Not too early on the centre-back.” Cantwell responds before Farke continues: “Yeah, but not too early. We can’t say OK. We speculate a bit and then overplay.”

Cantwell covers the left-back position for a moment as Norwich break forward. “Attack the box, Todd. Come on. You’ve got enough time.” He falls short; Quintilla’s shot is just off target.

43rd minute: Farke’s assistant, Eddie Riemer, is out for a chat for the first time and has a word in the ear of his boss. Farke keeps his counsel. The half-time whistle soon arrives and he swiftly heads for the dressing room.

It is now apparent a handful of supporters have managed to make the game, which is supposed to be behind closed doors.

A couple of Dresden supporters have brought their own beer and deckchairs. It would be impossible for them to look any more comfortable in their surroundings, even from 50 yards away.

Norwich make 10 changes to the team and after a minute of the restart, Farke returns — around 20 yards from the dugout, close to the halfway line.

48th minute: The majority of Farke’s instructions continue to revolve around when his side should press. “Jordan, wait. Jordan wait!” says Farke. Jordan Hugill was signed from West Ham on Sunday, announced on Monday and trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Tuesday.

This is his first appearance in a Norwich shirt. His first pressing action. His face is contorted as he chases down Dresden’s back line, desperate to be released on to his victims. Kieran Dowell gets a similar instruction in the next phase. Today, the pair are expected to press collectively and successfully. “Yes Kieran, come on. Be brave,” says Farke. “Being patient is good, Kieran, but don’t wait too long. They are altering the dynamic a bit but don’t be scared to go.”

66th minute: Dresden are having the better of things now. For the first time today, Farke is crouched. It is a position he tends to take up in the more tense moments of his matches. Other than that, he has barely moved from his position or been moved by his emotions since half-time.

The wind and rain soon get up. Farke walks to the dugout — not to take shelter but to pick up a waterproof top.

70th minute: Przemyslaw Placheta makes a bright run from a Norwich throw-in. The move breaks down but the Polish winger wins the ball back, produces a Marseille turn on the halfway line to keep possession and plays the ball back to goalkeeper Michael McGovern. Farke gives a wry look back to his bench.

75th minute: “Sam, not too far,” directs Farke at Sam McCallum, the young left-back signed from Coventry. It is Dresden’s attacking throw, with McCallum on the opposite side. Farke has to say it again. “Sam, not too far.” The third time is as aggressive as Farke sounds all day. McCallum compacts his position quickly.

79th minute: “Agh,” exclaims Farke, swinging his leg in frustration, as Danel Sinani gives up possession. “Two touches, Danel! For f**k sake.” There is a clear rawness to Sinani’s play; no surprise given his summer arrival from Luxembourg’s national league. Farke soon calls him over and gives him 10 seconds of his time in German.

82th minute: Following the rawness, a spark. Sinani picks up the ball on right and drives forward 30 yards, winning a free kick. Within seconds, he takes a touch to control and sends a perfectly-weighted through ball into Hugill. The striker’s own touch and finish would have featured on Farke’s pre-match wish list.

There is a collective “Yes!” from Norwich’s watching first-half starters followed by applause. Farke says little more than two words of encouragement in English: “Good, Danel.”

85th minute: “Aware Kenny, aware. Two men behind you… careful, careful. Next pass, Jordan. Next pass. Yes! Yes, Kieran. Yes.” Farke continues to direct Norwich’s pressing. Dresden break it in the end but Farke’s initial annoyance subsides once the ball is out of play. “Good. It was the right moment. The pressing moment we sought. That’s right.”

The full-time whistle blows in the middle of Farke giving some final instructions to Dowell. He doesn’t stop when the whistle goes; only once he’s finished.

Farke moves forward to thank those on the pitch. McCallum soon stops him for a chat about those earlier shouts. He is listening attentively to what his boss is saying.

No sooner is Farke free to continue offering his appreciation, Hugill is in front of him. Farke delivers a more animated description. Hugill is enjoying the individual coaching session.

With that, Farke is gone. The last to leave.

“You can tell he is really detailed,” Skipp tells The Athletic after the game. “He’s got a really clear philosophy on what he wants, which really helps the players. You know exactly what he wants from you and what he wants from the team.

“There are no blurred lines so it’s up to you to go out and deliver. It makes your job as a player much easier.”

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very interesting👍

All we got when I played was "kick the fukcern thing".

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Thanks for this Kenny.

It's a bit different from the coaches who sit behind me in the south stand. Although I must admit I'm looking forward to "hoof it te Hooooogul"....

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9 minutes ago, ricardo said:

very interesting👍

All we got when I played was "kick the fukcern thing".

" Take Him Out FFS  "  was often echoed in my Direction 

 

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That’s excellent, thankyou.

Couple of gems in there.

“Farke gives a wry look to his bench” - translation: “we’ve got a f*cking player here!”

Good to see the players eager to learn from his instruction like Hugill and McCallum. Sensing a bit of an attitude from Todd talking back there...could be reading too much into it. 

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Was lovely to see Farke so animated and loud during the match. Still remember our last few prem matches in which he sat alone on the bench, all by himslf silently not saying anything to anyone..

 

How it all changes, and I'm all for it

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Everybody's different, but if I was a player, particularly an inexperienced one I would want a coach that gives me very clear, detailed instructions, as opposed to someone who would say 'just go out and play.' Takes the guess work out, means you know what your team mates are going to do you can plan attacks ahead and focus on what you're good at. if you mess up you know exactly why you messed up and that can help you learn. 

 

Obviously this would be an issue if you were an exceptionally gifted, inventive flair player, the coach didn't know what he was doing or some of your team mates were not on the same wavelength or we're ignoring instructions. But when everybody is on board I would definitely prefer this approach if I was one of our players. 

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Love the insight. A really small look into how Farke improves young players.

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I’m guessing this is an article in The Athletic? I imagine it’ll get taken down soon in case of copyright objections, but actually it tempts me to subscribe, at least while the offer’s on.

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Posted (edited)

Ooh look, another near-advert for the Athletic!  At least this one actually contains the interesting bits...🙂

Edited by Branston Pickle

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2 hours ago, WD40 said:

Good to see the players eager to learn from his instruction like Hugill and McCallum. Sensing a bit of an attitude from Todd talking back there...could be reading too much into it. 

It didn't read like that to me. It seemed more that Cantwell was trying to second guess what Farke was going to say, in an attempt to demonstrate that he's been listening.

 

1 hour ago, Christoph Stiepermann said:

Everybody's different, but if I was a player, particularly an inexperienced one I would want a coach that gives me very clear, detailed instructions, as opposed to someone who would say 'just go out and play.' Takes the guess work out, means you know what your team mates are going to do you can plan attacks ahead and focus on what you're good at. if you mess up you know exactly why you messed up and that can help you learn. 

Indeed, probably explains Farke's knack of developing players.

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19 hours ago, Christoph Stiepermann said:

Everybody's different, but if I was a player, particularly an inexperienced one I would want a coach that gives me very clear, detailed instructions, as opposed to someone who would say 'just go out and play.' Takes the guess work out, means you know what your team mates are going to do you can plan attacks ahead and focus on what you're good at. if you mess up you know exactly why you messed up and that can help you learn.

Apparently Dowell has said that Farke is very clear in what he expects from individuals and the team

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17 hours ago, Nuff Said said:

I’m guessing this is an article in The Athletic? I imagine it’ll get taken down soon in case of copyright objections, but actually it tempts me to subscribe, at least while the offer’s on.

There is some great stuff on The Athletic, and obviously Michael Bailey is dedicated to Norwich so we'll still get good coverage on there next season.

It's well worth the money, especially if you can get one of their half price offers.

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22 minutes ago, ncfcstar said:

There is some great stuff on The Athletic, and obviously Michael Bailey is dedicated to Norwich so we'll still get good coverage on there next season.

It's well worth the money, especially if you can get one of their half price offers.

I'm paying about the equivalent of £2 pm for it. It's really good value and you only get high quality content. I would highly recommend it to anyone. As a bonus it's also completely putting to shame and taking food off of the plate of disingenuous, ill informed, hack writers for newspapers I wouldn't wipe my ar4e with like say Martin Samuel as just one of many examples. 

 

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