What went wrong for Daniel Farke and where do Norwich City go from here?

Daniel Farke will be fondly remembered by Norwich City fans.
Daniel Farke will be fondly remembered by Norwich City fans. Credit: PA

After four-and-a-half years in charge, Daniel Farke's Norwich City reign was brought to a dramatic end on Saturday - with the club deciding to sack him just hours after recording their first Premier League win of the season at Brentford.

The news was met with a mixture of shock and sadness from Canaries fans, many of whom were devastated to see the German's time in charge of the club come to an end.

Farke has brought some incredible memories to Norwich fans, most notably delivering two Championship titles - including a record points haul (97) last season.

However, he also oversaw a painful relegation from the top flight, and the Canaries appeared destined to suffer the same fate again under his leadership this time out.

Farke only signed a new four-year-contract with the club in the summer, so where has it all gone so wrong?

  • Premier League struggles

Norwich have struggled for results in the Premier League. Credit: PA

Daniel Farke's record in the Championship is exemplary, but when it comes to the Premier League, it's a very different story.

The German took charge of 49 top flight games across two separate seasons, winning only six.

That means he leaves Carrow Road with a win percentage of just 12.2% at Premier League level - the lowest of any manager to take charge of more than 43 games in the competition's history.

Of course, the most memorable of those triumphs came against Manchester City at Carrow Road in September 2019 - a night that will live long in the memory of Norwich fans for years to come.

But it was against the teams towards the bottom of the table that Farke couldn't seem to find a way past - a trend that has continued this season with damaging home defeats to fellow strugglers Watford and Leeds United.

In fact, Farke's Premier League win percentage is comfortably the worst of any Norwich manager, with Mike Walker (45%) boasting the best record.

At just 12.2%, Farke's record is considerably worse than Nigel Worthington (19.5%), Alex Neil (26.1%), Chris Hughton (29.3%) and Paul Lambert (33.3%) who have all managed the club in the top flight since the turn of the century.

  • Higher expectations

Christos Tzolis was one of the summer arrivals. Credit: PA

When Norwich were first promoted to the Premier League in 2019, Farke himself admitted it would take a "miracle" for them to survive, but there was a notable shift in the language used this time.

The Canaries shelled out £50 million on new recruits in the summer, a figure that could rise to £70 million if the loans of Ozan Kabak and Mathias Normann are made permanent at the end of the campaign.

Granted, much of that spending was funded by the club record sale of star player Emi Buendía to Aston Villa for £38 million, but there was definite optimism at Carrow Road that things would be different on this occasion.

  • Hear from fans in Norwich

Having backed their man to the hilt, there's no doubt that the club's board and sporting director were expecting a better return than five points from the opening 11 games of the season, and that is something that will have been considered when the the club were deciding whether it was time for a change.

Having fought their way back to the top table, Norwich are desperate to avoid going down with a whimper again - with sporting director Stuart Webber recently telling me the club aren't prepared to accept becoming "a laughing stock."

  • Formations and the demise of 'Farkeball'

Daniel Farke has cut a dejected figure in recent weeks. Credit: PA

Farke's football was so electrifying in the Championship at times, that fans labelled it 'Farkeball.'

In his first promotion season, the Canaries played some of the best stuff the second tier has ever seen, scoring goals almost at will and exciting Norwich fans and neutrals alike with their attractive style of play.

No matter the situation, Norwich also stuck to their beliefs, as illustrated best by their memorable 4-3 over Millwall at Carrow Road in November 2018.

With the score tied at 3-3 and time running out, most teams would lump the ball into the box and hope for the best, but Norwich instead continued to play through the thirds - resulting in the ball eventually landing at the feet of Teemu Pukki who scored the most dramatic of winners.

However, there's been a feeling among fans that Farke has started to abandon those beliefs this season.

Norwich have been far more willing to resort to long, aimless balls than they have done in the past and there's also been bemusement that Farke has moved away from the trusted 4-2-3-1 formation that has served him so well.

Supporters have grown frustrated at certain players being constantly overlooked as well, including on loan Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour who hasn't kicked a ball for the Canaries since September, and homegrown star Todd Cantwell, who has been left out the squad altogether for a number of weeks now.

  • So, who's next?

Frank Lampard has been linked with the Norwich job. Credit: PA

Take a look at the current betting odds and you'll see many of the usual suspects who are linked with every Premier League vacancy going, but you can definitely draw a line through the likes of Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce who wouldn't want to work in Norwich's sporting director, head coach model.

It's far more likely that, just as they did back in 2017, Norwich will opt to appoint someone left-field who hasn't even been considered by the bookies.

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard is among the early favorites, but whether he would be seen as the ideal person for a relegation scrap is up for debate.

There's been a lot of money put on Bodø/Glimt boss Kjetil Knutsen in recent hours, and he appears to fit the bill of the type of candidate Norwich would be looking for.

Whoever they decide to appoint, local journalist Michael Bailey believes the new man must have some kind of top flight pedigree.

  • Watch an extended interview with Michael Bailey

"I think, for me, it has to be someone with really proven elite level coaching experience because they've got to be a better coach than Daniel Farke. They probably have to come with a degree of reputation, that's incredibly important," he said.

"It doesn't have to be someone who's coaching at Premier League level, but I would be surprised if it's someone who's sitting at the top of the betting charts at the moment.

"I imagine Stuart Webber is a sporting director who does like to do things slightly differently, I think he would like to be seen to be making an intelligent appointment."