Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-0 Championship win against Birmingham City
PUBLISHED: 22:08 26 December 2017 | UPDATED: 22:19 26 December 2017
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from St Andrews
1. Bravo - Norwich responded where it mattered to that latest insipid offering against Brentford.
Daniel Farke delivered on his promise to make changes - both in personnel and approach. The pay-off was a cohesive, obdurate performance that brought a second league win in 11.
James Maddison and Alex Pritchard were the creative pivot. Alex Tettey and Tom Trybull the insurance, while Josh Murphy underlined he has all the promise to decide games at Championship level. This was a good day; a shaft of light after the gloom. But for it to mark a sea change it must be the start. Onwards and upwards.
2. Jamal Lewis - First start of his career. But not the last time Norwich City’s young left back will earn effusive praise.
The composure, the quality, the calmness against a top class operator in Jota spoke volumes for the young man and the faith shown by Farke and Stuart Webber. Jota’s half-time withdrawal underlined who had decisively won that duel.
Lewis played with the fearlessness and freshness of a teenager who carries no battle scars and who feels the possibilities are limitless.
Yes, he will make mistakes. Yes, he will go through inconsistent periods but the raw material is there. And its ready now.
3. TNT - Less a stick of dynamite, more a dollop of super glue.
The restoration of Tettey and Trybull injected far more solidity when Birmingham had the ball.
It’s just the little, almost imperceptible moments within the game - Tettey popping up on the edge of his box to block a shot or Trybull using his nous to buy a free kick, break up the play and give his side a breather.
There is no question Tettey and Trybull are Farke’s best central midfield axis.
The platform for Maddison and Pritchard to weave their magic. If fitness or suspension do not intervene, Farke must keep them together.
4. Pretty effective - Granted, its not entertainment of the highest order. The passing is not endless, the technical brilliance rationed. But yet again, City went to the counter-puncher’s stance and ground out a thoroughly professional win.
Birmingham tried to rouse themselves for a full 25 minutes after the interval but Angus Gunn remained well-protected.
Once the fire had subsided and the doubts re-surfaced in a squad propping up the rest of the division, Pritchard picked out Josh Murphy to apply the medicine.
It might not be Farke’s philosophical masterplan but until the building blocks are in place this looks the best method and the maximum use of his resources.
Add this notch to Reading, Middlesbrough, Ipswich. These are not isolated incidents. They are a trend. And it should be accelerated from here.
5. Festive flip - A trip to Burton followed by Millwall’s New Year’s Day visit to Carrow Road should hold no fears.
Norwich have the personnel and the approach to dig out results.
The panache and the gloss can wait for now. City’s squad and the head coach proved here there is enough fight, there is enough character and there is a willingness to resist. They will need all those qualities again in the coming days.
But the belief has been restored. That may have a lasting impact than a timely three points in the West Midlands.
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