Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s stirring 1-0 Championship win at Brentford
PUBLISHED: 22:45 27 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:06 28 January 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Griffin Park
1. 1-0 to the underdog - Daniel Farke’s pre-match soundbite regarding the size of Norwich’s task at Brentford was understandable.
The Bees were 14 unbeaten at Griffin Park in the league and looking to close in on a play-off spot.
Norwich had lost their captain to injury in a battle with his car. Tom Trybull and Mario Vrancic were far from fully fit. Wes Hoolahan was another absentee.
Then you add in three signings barely in the building. But never doubt the character and the resilience in this group of players. Brentford pinned Norwich back for long spells but could find no way past.
2. Maddison missile - We should not be surprised now but this was another stunning intervention from a man who is destined for the biggest stages if he continues his accelerated rate of development.
The turn and impudent flick through the legs of Ryan Woods was a delicious starter, but the curling shot over Daniel Bentley evoked memories of his brilliance at Middlesbrough and Reading. England Under-21s’ coach Aidy Boothroyd was in attendance at Griffin Park.
This was another reminder he has a Young Lion in the form of his life ahead of upcoming qualifiers in March.
Farke reiterated on Friday it will take mega money to part with Maddison ahead of next Wednesday’s transfer deadline. City fans will be counting the seconds.
3. Build the wall - Norwich’s obdurate streak was required for most of the second half.
Brentford continued to dominate both possession and territory but it took until the 86th minute for Angus Gunn to come to the party, when he foiled Ollie Watkins. That was the level of protection afforded him from Alex Tettey, Mario Vrancic and a defensive three, woven around the uncompromising figure of Grant Hanley.
City displayed again beyond any doubt they have a solid platform to repel most invaders. Farke now needs to embellish it with attacking thrust.
4. Happy Harry - Reed was the lucky winner of the Pinto sweepstake, after the Norwich captain’s freak injury forced Farke to search deep within a squad with no obvious recognised replacement.
Reed had dabbled in that right wing back, right full back role during periods of a couple of games earlier in the season.
This was an altogether different assignment.
There were or two moments that underlined his positional vulnerability but the desire and the appetite to stick to his task was hugely impressive.
Even when Brentford introduced Sergi Canos, Reed was able to nullify the tricky wide player.
Should Pinto not return for next weekend the Southampton man is far better than a stop gap.
5. New toys - Moritz Leitner was the only one of the recent signings to see any action at Griffin Park.
But the sight of Dennis Srbeny and Onel Hernandez on the Canaries’ bench created a sense of freshness and renewal.
City’s squad now has the vital depth Farke needs to shuffle his pack and retain that energy and inventiveness so essential to handle the grind of Championship combat.
Farke made it clear on Friday he is happy with his resources now at his disposal, as he predicted a quiet end to the transfer window.
Add some of the injured players back to the mix and to quote the German, there could be some fun to be had between now and the end of the campaign.
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