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What Norwich have to do to stay in the Premier League next season

Jim van Wijk, PA
·4-min read

Norwich have won promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what the Norfolk club, who finished rock bottom in 2019/20, must do next to stay in the top flight.

Don’t cash in on crown jewels

Norwich midfielder Emi Buendia celebrates scoring
Retaining the likes of playmaker Emi Buendia and full-back Max Aarons (right) will be key (Nigel French/PA)

While defenders Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis were sold for a tidy sum following relegation, there was no mass exodus from Carrow Road.

Norwich stood their ground to fend off interest in full-back Max Aarons, subject of a potential switch to Barcelona, and England Under-21 midfielder Todd Cantwell, while playmaker Emi Buendia also knuckled down once it became clear he would not be leaving Norfolk any time soon.

All three men were key to Norwich’s promotion campaign, fuelled by 25 goals so far in the Sky Bet Championship from Teemu Pukki.

Retaining their services for another crack at the Premier League will be vital if the club is to progress.

Shrewd summer recruitment

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Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber knows decisions off the field this summer will be as important as performances delivered on it next season.

Lessons will have been learned from the last Premier League recruitment drive, which saw the likes of Swiss striker Josip Drmic, veteran goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, defensive midfielder Ibrahim Amadou and Manchester City loanee Patrick Roberts – who made only four appearances – produce minimal impact.

Permanent deals for Greek full-back Dimitris Giannoulis and defender Ben Gibson are set to be completed following promotion.

Continuing to improve the spine of the team is crucial – and as Webber himself said after the January transfer window: “It is about adding players who ultimately make the group a lot better.”

Get streetwise

Norwich midfielder Lukas Rupp appears dejected
Norwich were the only one of the three promoted sides not to stay up two seasons ago (Molly Darlington/NMC Pool/PA)

Norwich brought plenty of colour to the Premier League last time out, but apart from a memorable 3-2 win over then champions Manchester City in September 2019, they offered little real substance.

Too often players tried to rely on the showreel tricks which had lifted them from the Championship, but without taking into account the step up in class of opposition who punished every mistake or stray pass.

Games which should have been seen out ended in draws or, more often than not, costly defeats – while Daniel Farke’s gung-ho tactics and lack of telling substitutions at decisive movements were called into question on a regular basis.

Expect a much more game-hardened approach this time, with everyone at the club left in no doubt of what is required to pick up points week in, week out rather than just enjoying the ride.

Banish away-day blues

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Norwich managed just four points on the road during 2019/2020, their only away victory coming at Everton in late November.

The Canaries were beaten at both Aston Villa and Sheffield United, failing to make the same improvements as the teams which had come up behind them.

The 1-0 win at Derby last weekend saw Farke’s men chalk up a 14th victory on their travels, the best record in the Championship.

It will, though, again prove no easy ride away from Norfolk next season – but nevertheless those 19 tough journeys must produce more of a return for their collective efforts.

In Farke-ball we trust

Norwich manager Daniel Farke acknowledges fans after the final whistle
German head coach Daniel Farke has Norwich playing a high-intensity game (Joe Giddens/PA)

It was very much a case of “Daniel who?” when the unheralded German was announced as the Canaries’ new head coach during the summer of 2017 – and the jury remained very much out following a 14th-placed finish in his first season.

However, roll the clock on to May 2019 and Farke was given the freedom of the city after masterminding a swashbuckling campaign which delivered the Championship title in style.

That goodwill saw the many shortcomings of an interrupted Premier League campaign somewhat overlooked, as Norwich dropped straight back down with just 21 points and nine successive defeats after Project Restart.

However, former Borussia Dortmund II boss Farke never deviated from his own version of ‘Gegenpressing’ – and nor did the board’s faith in its man waiver.

Farke’s team have also now added a bit of steely determination this season, very much a case of grinding out results rather than sweeping teams aside as they did with the 7-0 demolition of Huddersfield.

More of the same will be needed when up against the elite once more next term – but this time the German will be that bit wiser as to the challenges ahead.