Norwich manager Daniel Farke praised the character of his players after watching them overcome a strong challenge from Nottingham Forest to claim a 2-1 win at Carrow Road.
The victory took the Canaries three points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship and once again showed how adept they are at coming through tight games, with this success the ninth time they have won a game by a single goal margin.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the lads – the spirit and togetherness they showed out there was brilliant,” Farke said.
“We have a lot of injuries at the moment and some of the lads on the bench were like mascots for us, with very little training under their belts, and were not really match fit. I brought them in to lift the mood and I certainly think they did that.
“It was a very tough game against a good Forest side who I keep expecting to start climbing the league.
“They can afford to bring a player of Anthony Knockaert’s ability off the bench and were always going to be very tough opponents. But we found a way to win and it seems we are winning all games by just one goal.
“When you have to score against a side with 11 bodies in their own box it’s unbelievably difficult.
“Because of where we are in the table every team will try and raise their game and make it tough for us, but we got our goal just before half-time and after their equaliser the lads showed a fantastic reaction and got the win with unbelievable spirit and fighting qualities.”
The win took City clear of Bournemouth, and while it is still early days, Farke is delighted with his side’s tally heading into the busy festive programme.
“All that matters is how many points we have after 46 games, but I am certainly pleased with how many we have got from our games so far. It gives us a good platform to build on.
“We are in the favourite role now and we are without so many key players. Hopefully we can go on in this spirit.
“I have to say, this team doesn’t actually need a coach because they are such fantastic characters. They create this themselves.”
Norwich got their noses in front on the stroke of half-time when Danish youngster Jacob Sorensen fired home a loose ball from just inside the box to score his first goal since his summer move.
But a spirited Forest side improved after the break and got the equaliser they deserved after 72 minutes when Knockaert, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes, beat Michael McGovern with a curling effort which looked as though it was intended as a cross.
Norwich were stung but regrouped and scored what proved to be the winner five minutes later when Emi Buendia’s shot took a huge deflection off the head of Joe Worrall to wrong-foot goalkeeper Brice Samba.
Forest manager Chris Hughton was feeling hard done by afterwards after losing out to his former club.
“I thought we were unlucky,” he said. “It was a very good performance from the lads, especially in the second half. When we equalised I certainly didn’t think we would end up losing the game – I thought we were looking the side most likely to win it.
“We were up against a very good side and gave a very good account of ourselves. It was just a shame we conceded a goal when we did, just before half-time.
“We battled well in the first half, even though they were probably the better side, but in the second half I think we were better. We just need to make more of the opportunities we create.
“It’s a tough one to take but there are plenty of positives for us. We’ve got to play like we did in the second half on a regular basis, starting on Saturday. It is something for us to build on even, even though we lost the game.”
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