Daniel Farke is proving the critics wrong, insists City fan Paul Warne
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Paul Warne believes Norwich City are being rewarded for their patience with Daniel Farke, after worries about the head coach's first season in England.
The Norfolk-born manager, a boyhood Canaries fan, brings his stubborn Rotherham side to Carrow Road on Saturday looking to bring an end to the league leaders’ seven-match unbeaten run.
And Warne has praised the City board for standing by their man, despite finishing 14th last season and winning just one of the opening six games of the current campaign.
“I’ve been really impressed,” the Rotherham boss said of Farke’s work. “It just shows how football is. I remember after the first few games, it was like it is at every club, you win your first few and everyone thinks you’re getting promoted and lose your first few and you’re going to get relegated and need to change the manager!
“That’s pretty uniform in football but I went and watched Norwich at King’s Lynn in pre-season because obviously I’ve now got Sean Raggett (on loan) here. In that game I could see they were well organised and the way he wants to play.
“But it takes a bit of time because when you take over a team none of them are your players and you have to get the right personalities.
“When I took over here a lot of people weren’t sort of my type of human beings, my cup of tea, and then kindly the chairman gave me the opportunity to do it my way.
“I said that I can’t guarantee it’s going to be successful but at least let me do it my way – and it’s the same at Norwich really, given they had a decent season, not an amazing season.
“Then this year everything’s clicking really well and they’ve got some really good technical footballers which I don’t think they’ve had for a while.”
While the former Diss and Wroxham forward was able to guide the Millers straight back to the Championship via the League One play-offs last season, he has managed to do so on a shoestring budget.
While Norwich have had to make drastic financial cuts along the way as well, their budget is still in a different stratosphere to Rotherham, who could not even consider summer signings such as Moritz Leitner or Emi Buendia – who were both brought in for around £1.5million each and are proving to be top Championship performers.
“There’s a couple of amazing players but I don’t want to big them up too much!” Warne continued. “There’s a couple of really good players and a goal-scorer, which every team need, and the thing is they have momentum.
“That’s the crucial thing, it’s the same if you’re losing games and at the bottom, if you keep losing it becomes part of it. Even if you’re winning you think they’re going to get back at us and if they score and it goes 1-1 they’re bound to get one in the last minute. It’s sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Last year after Christmas when we hadn’t won in 26 games or something, even when we were losing there was that much belief in the group that they just kept going and that’s what’s happening with Norwich at the moment.
“They’ve got that belief and they just keep steamrolling teams. The more they steamroll, the more they think they’re going to steamroll teams.
“They’re scoring goals for fun and, I might be wrong, but in previous seasons if they were 3-2 down to Millwall at home I don’t know how many fans would have left and thought ‘urgh, we’ve lost again’.
“To turn that around to a 4-3 really sort of displays what the team are about at the moment, so we’re well aware that it’s going to be a tough game for us on Saturday, that’s for sure.”
Warne’s team are proving tough nuts to crack though, only losing one of their last 10 – but also drawing eight of that run.
The Millers sit 19th and three points clear of the bottom three after 19 matches, having been denied a home win on Tuesday night, when QPR equalised in the 90th minute to draw 2-2 at the New York Stadium.
“We’re competing quite well,” former North Walsham High School pupil Warne concluded. “We didn’t spend any money in the summer, so it’s a League One team which finished about 18 points behind Wigan – and they’ve spent about £5million in the summer.
“So I’m well aware of where we stand but we have a great group mentality here, we treat people right I think. We all want to play for each other and have something to prove, there’s a bit of ignorance of youth with some of them.
“The chairman’s remit to me at the start of the season was to try and be competitive as we can in every game.
“In every game, apart from the first one when Brentford gave us a good licking (5-1), we’ve been more than competitive.
“We’ve lost one in 10 and we’ve drawn no end. Don’t get me wrong, some of them should have been wins and some could have been defeats, so I’m not pretending that we’re an unbelievable team.
“But we’re defending pretty well and definitely at home as well we’re pretty formidable and the fans are enjoying what our lads are trying to do.
“Part of me does think we should have accumulated more points but everyone says that, Norwich will probably say they should have got three points at Hull.”