Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City's epic 4-3 Championship win against Millwall
PUBLISHED: 23:57 10 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:16 11 November 2018
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Scenes. Big scenes
Calmed down yet? What a stunning demonstration of the heart and the character in this squad of Daniel Farke’s. 3-2 down entering six additional minutes of stoppage time, after two calamitous defensive errors had cancelled out Moritz Leitner’s stunning hit.
But step forward Jordan Rhodes, who found space and the composure to draw the hosts’ level.
Then in time added on to time added on Teemu Pukki showed remarkable coolness to flip a shot over the grounded Ben Amos to spark the type of eruption that must have been felt around the Championship.
Christmas may still be in front rather than behind the Canaries but this felt like a defining game in their promotion quest.
2. Teemu Pukki. He writes his own scripts
The flying Finn hauled Norwich over the line after getting them back on level terms shortly after the interval. This brace took his tally to 10 in 16 games for the Canaries.
That second half penalty miss a mere footnote (see below). It has been said before but it needs to be underlined. If there is a better piece of free transfer business in this or any other season it would be hard to suggest an alternative.
Both Pukki’s finishes were predatory goals of the highest order. Norwich just need to keep him fit. Which means no heroics when he departs on international duty, after he returned last time with a hamstring injury.
3. Hail the King
It was not quite the cacophony that greeted Simeon Jackson’s winner against Derby in another Championship promotion-winning season. But it was not far off. Pukki was buried under a posse of yellow shirts. Alex Tettey broke into a jig. And then after the final whistle had sparked a prolonged standing ovation Farke moved centre stage.
The City head coach walked onto the pitch to congratulate his players before slowly going to three sides of the ground to take the acclaim.
Farke is not by nature a man who seeks the limelight.
But he deserved the warmth of a crowd who are now firmly buying into his methods. That contractual distraction can wait for now. Just savour the man and his influence on a season that contains limitless possibilities.
4. Heard the one about…
Perhaps a touch churlish to mention the team who were unable to convert four penalties in their opening 17 league games? Maybe, given the epic nature of this comeback.
When Onel Hernandez’s rising shot struck the outstretched arm of the diving Murray Wallace, the right man grabbed the ball for the Canaries.
Pukki’s dander would have been up after notching his ninth goal for the club in a second half surge after the interval.
Pukki did not even bother with the stuttering run up perfected by both Rhodes and Mario Vrancic in earlier episodes of spot kick misery.
But the Finnish international’s effort down the middle was anticipated by Amos, who stood his ground and batted the ball away.
The audible murmur of disbelief was almost tangible around the stadium in the immediate aftermath. Never mind a throw in coach. Anyone got a number for Matt Le Tissier?
5. Waiting in the wings
For most of his enforced injury absence, Norwich have coped admirably without their talismanic captain Grant Hanley. That is huge credit to Christoph Zimmermann alongside Timm Klose in a solid central defensive pairing.
But Zimmermann struggled to contain the towering Tom Elliott in a bruising encounter at times as Millwall launched long balls in the vicinity of their attacking focal point.
That would have been Hanley’s game to a tee - a physical challenge the type of which the Scot tends to relish.
Farke made it clear he was only set to come into his thoughts for the Lions’ visit if Klose had been ruled out with an ankle problem. Much better to err on the side of caution and give him another two weeks over the international break to put miles in those legs.
But thereafter, it might not quite be such a game of patience with games against equally direct Rotherham and Bolton on the horizon. What a lovely selection problem to have.