For Norwich, beating champions Manchester City 3-2 on Saturday was more than just a big result; it was a reminder that anything is possible in the Premier League.
That’s a lovely message to get into the dressing room of a promoted side at this stage of the season. The big teams won’t always play well and it is up the likes of Norwich to make it difficult for them.
The Canaries will be realistic about their chances of staying up. They have a small budget and modest quality of personnel, so they need their players to relax and play.
They have a few important factors in their favour, though, not least a wonderful atmosphere at Carrow Road.
You can already see that they’ll rely on home form, but if you get 10-12 wins from those 19 fixtures then you are almost at the magic number of points needed to avoid relegation.
Daniel Farke’s tactical approach is also a solid template for survival.
Whether playing Crawley in the EFL Cup or City in the league, they have not deviated from their 4-2-3-1 formation. This should mean that players are comfortable and don’t have an excuse when things go wrong.
Pukki and Krul
Norwich play a high-energy style which is physically demanding but allows them to press as well as getting back in numbers – and no one executes it better than striker Teemu Pukki.
Pukki has been a journeyman much of his career but has shown himself to be clever, switched-on and a team player who leads from the front, willing to run wide as well as break the lines.
People may have thought he got 29 league goals last season only because Norwich were in the Championship, but he is scoring with the same regularity in the Premier League and for Finland now.
His assist for Todd Cantwell’s goal against City was brilliant. Most prolific forwards in that position would have shot but the pass was the best option and he delivered it perfectly.
At the other end of the pitch is another man whose performances are testament to his hard work.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul’s career looked to be in decline after leaving Newcastle two years ago but he found regular football at Norwich last season and is now back in the top tier with a point to prove.
He spent three weeks in Dubai this summer working with a personal trainer just to get ready for pre-season.
The dedication it takes to play at that level can be overlooked because of the money involved, but Krul has been on top form and it’s no accident.
Is it sustainable?
Norwich are in the honeymoon period now. It will get tougher when games and injuries build up but they must keep playing the football they believe in.
Farke’s background is at Borussia Dortmund, one of the most offensive teams in Europe, and he’s got his current side doing what he likes so I don’t think he will abandon that.
Is it sustainable? As long as injuries don’t keep key players out for too long. And they may need to recruit back-ups of the same quality because it is a long season.
But performances like the one against City are great markers to revisit when the difficult spell comes and the doubts set in.
For now, at least, nowhere will confidence be higher than at Carrow Road.
Main image credit: Getty