How Norwich City inspired Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate after Manchester City win
Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate admired the way Norwich City stuck to their principles during last weekend’s shock 3-2 win over Manchester City.
Daniel Farke’s side only won promotion from the Championship last season but have already earned plenty of plaudits for playing an attacking brand of football in the top-flight.
It is no different to their approach last season, though, when, in Farke’s second full season as Canaries boss, they scored 93 goals in 46 league games to reach the Premier League.
Woodgate will hope to build a similar side at Boro, where he is trying to alter the team’s style of play compared to last season.
“You watch the way a team like Norwich have developed, that’s really encouraging. It shows what’s possible,” said Woodgate ahead of this weekend’s trip to Cardiff.
“You look at the way they’ve developed and the way they’ve stuck to their principles, it’s something to aspire to, but you have to go right back and look at the recruitment they did.
“Okay, they got a lot of players and some of them were on frees, but they’re good players and fit perfectly into what they want to do. That’s important. You need to know what you’re getting and they recruited really well.
“The manager has done a great job, both in terms of getting the players and then moulding them into how he wants to play.”
The Norwich model is obviously an attractive proposition right now, with Farke also willing to promote the club’s youth prospects. For context, the Canaries had one of the lowest age averages in the Championship last season (25.4).
Still, it should be noted that Norwich finished 14th in Farke’s first full season in England and made a sluggish start to their promotion-winning campaign.
Since then, Farke’s persistence to play a high-pressing, offensive game has come to fruition. But, as Woodgate has previously pointed out, there needs to be a balance between attack and defence as well as youth and experience.
Like Farke, though, Woodgate insists he will stick to his principles: “I know what I believe in and I intend to stick to it. I’ll carry on doing that,” added the Boro boss.