PREVIEW: Sorry Sunderland in the last chance saloon, warns Norwich City chief
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Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke was in reflective mood assessing his first season at the helm ahead of Tuesday’s long trip to a Sunderland staring at League One.
Both clubs are recent inhabitants of the Premier League.
Both would have strived for better back in the Championship but only one is losing a battle for survival.
“We can speak about too much inconsistency yet it is a season without once being in danger of relegation,” said Farke. “Maybe just before Christmas, when we went to Birmingham, but we were still six points or so away.
“A solid season and we are still only a few points from the play-offs.
“A season of change. When you regard other big clubs with big aims, one of whom we play at Sunderland, they have some real problems.
“At the beginning of the season under an experienced coach like Simon Grayson I expected them to fight for promotion.
“Now they fight to stay in the division.
“After relegation there was a big change and once you are in trouble it is hard - the players are human beings and after losing so often in the Premier League you can’t just press a button and find it is easy to starting winning again.”
Chris Coleman’s arrival has failed to arrest an alarming slide which sees the Wearsiders kick off tonight seven points from safety.
“It is a sign of how big a club Sunderland is they could sign him,” said Farke.
“But all the topics come together.
“To be successful you need everyone inside a club working in the right direction.
“For me, it is a must-win game for them. They know three points gets them back in the mix. There is pressure but still hope for them. They are not 15 points behind.
“We must be respectful. We face a club in a really difficult situation.
“We will not go in a celebratory mood. We will be disciplined and professional.
“In the last weeks of the season, when you face an opponent struggling for relegation, it is a tough task; they will be highly motivated and aggressive. They were the much better side against Leeds and deserved to win.
“They are not with their heads already in League One.
“They will fight for their lives and the supporters will be right behind them. But there are advantages to us, perhaps some mistakes if they are over-motivated or some nerves.
“They have to win this game. They need it for the club.
“We are not playing for promotion or relegation but when youy wear the yellow shirt you always have a lot to play for.”