Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke celebrates his victory over Coventry at St Andrew’s last week with goalscorer Teemu Pukki
– Credit: Photo by Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd
The well-worn St Andrew’s stadium pitch awaits Norwich City for the second time in seven days on Tuesday night, with Daniel Farke preparing for another tough test, against a Birmingham City side he hopes to avoid relegation.
The league leaders beat Coventry 2-0 at St Andrew’s on Wednesday as the Blues share the pitch with their survival rivals, putting additional pressure on the pitch.
Farke’s satisfaction with the result increased this weekend when Coventry beat promotion rivals City Brentford 2-0 on the same pitch.
“It shows how invaluable our performance and result was against Coventry,” said the Canaries boss. “I said before the game that they lost only one of their last 10 home games, then the next home game after us, they were able to win.
“I think they were also there with a lot of clean sheets in their last home games so that says a lot about our performance, not just on the two goals but on the chances we created we were there with. a fantastic performance.
“We need the same level of performance for sure, but also in a different way because Birmingham in terms of approach and style of play is really different from Coventry.
“Birmingham are a great club with an incredibly experienced coach at this level, many experienced players. Right now they’re also struggling a bit against relegation.
“But I’m sure that with this quality of players and this experienced coach – I really appreciate Aitor Karanka – that they’ll end up in the middle of the table, I’m quite sure.”
The Blues ended a miserable streak of just one win in 13 appearances by winning 1-0 at Sheffield on Wednesday Saturday, with their relegation rivals reduced to 10 men early in the second half and Scott Hogan scoring the only 13 goal minutes later.
Farke continued, “Of course there is a little bit of pressure right now as they won the last game with a clean sheet, but there were games before when they weren’t that good and that’s it. quite normal that in this league, you can get away a little. and be in a bit of a difficult situation.
“That doesn’t take away from the fact that this team are incredibly hard to beat and even the last eight games, when you judge their results, they have only won two of their last eight games, but they don’t concede a lot of goals. .
“There was one game where Bournemouth scored three against them, every other game was pretty close. There have been clean sheets and draws, and it’s always difficult because Aitor Karanka has created a good set-up where his team is well structured and well organized, incredibly compact against the ball and also dangerous against attack.
“For that, you have to be there, move the ball quickly, on a field that is not easy to do. It doesn’t work much in our favor but we can’t choose and we can’t change that, so we have to make sure we try to speed up the game as much as possible on probably difficult terrain.
“It could be a tough job and we have to be there but also be there in terms of defensive behavior because I don’t think Birmingham will give us a lot of chances and if we can keep a clean sheet that’s more or less the first step to leave with a good result.
“We have to make sure that we find gaps and that we are clinical enough in using our chances.”
Emi Buendia scored City’s second goal as Coventry was beaten 2-0 at St Andrew’s last Wednesday
– Crédit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd
The match against Coventry also continued the managers’ magical mysterious tour of unusual changing rooms outside, with clubs trying to keep opposing teams as separate from the match as possible to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
In Millwall it was a sports hall next to The Den, in Stoke it was a mobile unit, in Birmingham it was a carpeted hospitality hall in one of the stands – with access to the pitch by concrete steps, for players wearing football boots.
“It’s a bit strange and sometimes you really have a hard time accepting what some clubs are doing, but also no complaints about St Andrew’s, it’s up to the rules,” Farke continued with a smile on the unusual situations that away teams have met in the past year.
“Sometimes you find it a bit difficult in an outdoor locker room like in a gym (in Millwall) – it was colder in that room than outside! You spend a lot of time there getting ready and sometimes as a head coach you get a little concerned that somebody gets a cold or something.
🗣 DF: “We don’t need comfortable or fancy changing rooms like in the new Tottenham stadium.” As long as there is no alcohol in the bar before the game, I totally agree! “# NCFC pic.twitter.com / tSpxmkq5tW
“So sometimes I have a feeling, with all due respect, that some clubs are trying to take the focus and focus away from the game a little bit, but that’s nothing that should affect us anyway.
“We don’t need fancy lodges. Football is a pretty traditional and easy game so it’s okay, we don’t need a cozy or fancy changing room, we just need a changing room.
“It doesn’t matter, when it’s kick-off we just focus on the game and it doesn’t matter if the dressing room is incredibly beautiful, like when you play at the new Tottenham stadium, c still looks fantastic, there is a lot of space and everything looks. really chic and awesome.
A late winner of second from left Mario Vrancic was needed to beat Birmingham at Carrow Road in October
– Crédit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd
“It doesn’t matter, we can also be in a little old-fashioned and dirty locker room – and they’re even a little better at building team spirit sometimes. We don’t need any luxuries and no one can distract us from our focus.
“Everyone is having a bit of trouble with the protocols during these weird times and of course I would rather be allowed to stay in the normal dressing room outside in Birmingham but at the moment it seems the protocols don’t allow that , so for now we are in the bar.
“As long as there is no alcohol in the bar for the players before, or immediately after the game if we have to play again two days later, then I totally agree with that!”
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