Was Farke right to 'go public' over a teenager's mistake?

Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke after Carabao Cup match at Carrow Road against Liverpool

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke - was he right or wrong to publicly criticise Christos Tzolis? - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It’s the heat of the moment, emotions run high – and sometimes you say things you perhaps shouldn’t - which is probably what happened to Daniel Farke after Norwich City's Carabao Cup exit. 

Farke is a frustrated man: City’s start to the season has been poor and there was an opportunity to boost morale against a Liverpool side made up largely of fringe players. 

At 1-0 down and half-time approaching, City blew a chance to get back into the game when Christos Tzolis had a penalty saved, having wrestled the ball from Adam Idah, the designated spot-kick taker. 

Farke was right to question why his senior players, his captain, Grant Hanley, in particular, didn’t point out to Tzolis the error of his ways. 

But was he right to call him out so publicly in his post-match media interviews? And what if Tzolis had scored?

“He was unbelievably emotional and excited but that’s what happens with young players, they take the wrong decisions and I was a bit annoyed that none of my older players was aware that he shouldn’t take the penalties,” said the City boss. “I love this guy and he will be an important player for us in the future and in general he had a really good performance. But believe me after I have spoken to him he will never do this mistake ever again in his life. He has apologised.” 

Tzolis is a 19-year-old who’s been in this country for six weeks. He wants to make an impression, but he has a lot of learning to do. But surely it would have been better to be hauled over the coals in the privacy of a dressing room. 

The usual policy is to stick to the “we’ve discussed it and the matter is now closed” - boring for the media, boring for the fans – but better for Tzolis and, in the long run, his club. Who knows how he will react? Maybe Farke believes this approach will have more effect, but it was curious that it came only a few days after he defended his players from criticism with a 13-minute monologue at his pre-match press conference. 

Again, maybe it was a heat of the moment thing, but public criticism - be it of players, other staff, suits in the stands, fans – is a slippery slope. Farke is fortunate that he is a trusted head coach, even in troubled times. While fans want honesty, they also want a comfort blanket that all is well in the camp. Public criticism doesn’t always fill them with optimism.

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