A 4-0 drubbing at the hands of West Ham this past weekend finally condemned Norwich to the relegation they’ve been staring in the face for over nine months now.
The Canaries have simply not been good enough this season and deservedly find themselves rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.
But while it’s been a disappointing year for supporters who initially had high hopes of staying up – owing to a promising start to the season – it’s now time to readjust, reassess and get behind Daniel Farke as manager, as there is no reason why the German can’t lead them on their road to redemption.
Yes, it would be easy to cast Farke aside and head into a new campaign with fresh ideas and a fresh perspective, like so many have done before. But it’s important to acknowledge what he achieved during the club’s promotion season, and remember that he was the man to lead Norwich back to the Premier League in the first place.
Norwich only have to look at Burnley – and how they remained faithful towards manager Sean Dyche following their relegation from the Premier League back in 2015 – as an example of how giving a manager time to build on their own failure can work.
Dyche was kept on after the Clarets’ relegation and guided them straight back to the Premier League in a dominant Championship campaign which saw the Lancashire side reign supreme over everybody in the division.
Since then, Burnley have gone on to become a real established Premier League club under Dyche’s command and are on the verge of qualifying for the Europa League for the second time in three years – a feat many wouldn’t have predicted when they finished second bottom of in 2015.
Norwich need to follow a similar model and let Farke rebuild in his own vision, using the style of play that got them into England’s top division in the first place.
The Canaries made a huge statement of intent when they started off life in the Premier League, playing the brand of football they had previously used with real verve and swagger. But a string of poor results saw the Norfolk side abandon the philosophy that had worked on for so long, instead getting players behind the ball to soak up pressure.
It was a move that hindered the development of Farke’s young squad and restricted star striker Teemu Pukki’s effectiveness in front of goal – you only need to look at his goalscoring numbers in recent months to show that.
Farke may have ditched his style of play to try and survive, but sometimes a manager makes a change because he genuinely feels it’s the best thing for the team. On this occasion, it backfired and it’s a decision he’ll likely regret – but with the talent that he currently has at his disposal, providing his better players don’t look to move on, it should be an easy transition back to playing attacking, possession based football.
That’s a style of play not often seen in the Championship, and it’s a style that his players were used to winning with just a year ago. Yes, confidence will be dented – the Canaries have scored the least amount of goals in the Premier League, while conceding he most – but the manager’s calming demeanour and belief in his player’s abilities is what got Norwich to where they were in the first place.
A couple of signings will help too, but trust is the most important element at Carrow Road. Farke must do with that his players, and the board must do with that with him. Burnley did it with Sean Dyche, and look where they are now.