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Daniel Farke staying grounded as Norwich open up seven-point lead

Norwich City v Cardiff City – Sky Bet Championship – Carrow Road
(Image credit: Nigel French)

Norwich manager Daniel Farke was keeping his feet firmly on the ground after watching his side beat Rotherham 1-0 at Carrow Road to move seven points clear at the top of the Championship.

Teemu Pukki’s well-taken first-half strike, his 15th of the season, gave the Canaries a well-deserved win while defeats for closest rivals Brentford and Swansea made it a perfect day for the leaders.

But Farke is looking no further ahead than Tuesday night’s trip to Birmingham, another relegation-threatened side, as he plots an immediate return to the top flight.

He said: “To be honest other results are not important to us, it is about us staying switched on in each and every game because nothing is guaranteed in this league.

“I am not interested in the table at the moment, just the points, and I am very happy to have 64 now.

“But if we stop now we would not even have enough points to get in the play-offs so we must keep up the momentum. If we can get up to 80 and make sure of the play-offs then we can start thinking of other things.

“We are just focusing on our third game in six days at Birmingham on Tuesday which will be another tough one.”

The game was settled in the 17th minute when Todd Cantwell stepped over Emi Buendia’s through ball, leaving Pukki to run clear and calmly plant the ball past Viktor Johansson.

Pukki, Mario Vrancic and Cantwell wasted good opportunities to put the game out of sight before half-time and Rotherham had their chances in the second half, with Lewis Wing hitting the crossbar with a rasping drive and Matt Crooks being denied by a crucial block from Max Aarons.

Farke added: “First and foremost I am happy with the three points, that is the most important thing, but to be honest it was a bit of a joke we were only 1-0 up at half-time because it should have been 3-0 or 4-0 with all the chances we created.

“You would normally expect players like Teemu Pukki, Mario Vrancic and Todd Cantwell to put them away but they didn’t and when you have only one goal there is always a chance for your opponents.

“Rotherham are a good team and had their chances but the important thing is we defended well and kept a clean sheet. Overall it was a good performance from all the team and my compliments go to all my players.”

Rotherham boss Paul Warne felt his side had given a good account of themselves but had no complaints about the result.

He said: “I would be lying if I said the best team hadn’t won but I was pleased with the way the lads played.

“Our plan was to try and stop them playing out from the back and having too much possession but in the first half I didn’t think we were brave enough with our press at times. We gifted them a goal and if I am being honest it could have been more than 1-0 at half-time.

“I thought we were a lot better in the second half. We didn’t come here to park the bus, we created some chances, but in the end I don’t think we did enough to come away with anything.

“Most managers seem to say Norwich are the best team in this division and I would echo that.

“There is still a long way to go but I would be amazed if they didn’t go straight up – although crazier things have happened.”