Norwich City haven’t yet lived up to their pre-season expectations – what have you taken from the first few games of the season?
There have been major changes at the club as they are trying a new management structure; Sporting Director Stuart Webber joined from Huddersfield Town and Head Coach Daniel Farke from Borussia Dortmund Under-23s. When Farke arrived, he made it clear that he was more of a Guardiola type coach rather than David Wagner or Jurgen Klopp and he has introduced a new possession-based style of football similar to that of Reading and Fulham. The pair have stressed to fans that patience is needed and that was taken on board; everyone is waiting eagerly to find out how things unfold as the season progresses.
You mentioned the huge overhaul there, so do you think this sluggish start was to be expected?
Everyone appreciated that it would take time, but at the same time the fan base was calling for the club to refresh the squad, because there were a lot of players that had been involved in two Premier League relegations – John Ruddy and Sebastien Bassong to name just two. The slow start was anticipated but you just can’t continue conceding four goals in successive games as they did in August – that was the first time that had happened to a Norwich team since 1999. Things have to improve if that patience is going to continue.
They have prospered in the Carabao Cup, however – what can you tell me about the previous rounds?
Swindon Town were far from straightforward opponents – they raced out of the blocks and took the lead, but Norwich turned it on in a 15-minute spell dominated by Wes Hoolahan and James Maddison; Swindon just couldn’t live with them and it finished 3-2. Charlton Athletic also took the lead in the next round and the first half was extremely nervy, but City found their feet in the second half, moved through the gears quite quickly and ended up being 4-1 winners, though the score-line didn’t reflect the performance. They’ve played a strong XI in both rounds and Daniel Farke has made it clear that he is taking the cup seriously.
Brentford fans are well acquainted with Alex Pritchard, but with long-term injury ruling him out of the tie, who should they be keeping an eye on?
I would say Josh Murphy, who has got a phenomenal in the League Cup having scored – off the top of my head - seven goals in nine appearances. He’s an explosive right-winger, and is looking to fill the void left by his twin brother Jacob following his £12m move to Newcastle. He’s got the talent, it’s almost just a case of him building his confidence because in a flash, he’ll beat a defender and the ball will be in the back of the net.
Norwich have won four of the last six meetings between the two clubs, so taking that and everything else into account, what do you think the scoreboard will look like at full-time?
It will depend on the strength of both teams but I think we’ll see some goals as I don’t think defensive ability is what either set of fans would say their team is strongest at, particularly with Brentford losing Harlee Dean. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a 2-2 draw with the game going all the way to penalties.
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