Norwich City: Balancing The Project and The Product
Has he got it right? (Photo: Getty Images)

'The Project' is the current buzzword around Carrow Road.

A fast-paced, shackles-released style of football that paid dividends under Daniel Farke in the Championship, Norwich's manager celebrating a century of games in charge of the Norfolk club against Aston Villa.

The circulation around the streets of East Anglia is that they would have it no other way - prepared to take the 4-1 batterings in the hope of memorable occasions such as the one witnessed against Manchester City.

Some have even gone so far as suggesting they would 'be prepared to see Norwich get relegated over adapting the style'.

This is their project - a long-term ambition over short-term goals.

The project is still on track

The problem for Norwich is balancing the project and the end product. Would they remain happy seeing exciting, attacking football at the expense of Premier League and, possibly even, Championship football - many sides have fallen through consecutive trap doors.

For all of the celebrations against City, reminiscent and probably even greater than those underpinning promotion to the Championship, Norwich's form has been undone by lacklustre defeats to Crystal Palace and Burnley.

Yet the project worked - they dominated possession in both matches but surely four crucial points against teams they would be expected to challenge would be a more suitable end product?

Time to adapt?

The project isn't just about the style of play on the pitch under Farke but also the recruitment model devised by Sporting Director, Stuart Webber.

Norwich are one of those forward-thinking clubs prepared to put their faith in youth over splashing the cash - a contrast to fellow promoted side, Aston Villa.

In his programme notes ahead of number 100 against the Villains, Farke explains, 'each and every game will be different, with different styles of quality.'

But the project doesn't allow the opportunity to adapt - even in a squad ravaged by injuries.

Norwich will still try to play their football, despite harnessing a youthful defence flanking midfielder Ibrahim Amadou slotting into the back four. Or with a third-choice goalkeeper donning the gloves between the sticks.

Project or product?

The project is a brave and creative approach. It worked perfectly at the first stage, The Championship, but is becoming unstuck in the top tier.

Norwich sneaked to the helm of the second tier but now everyone is aware of their tactical preference - the world saw what they were about against City.

But, as emphasised by those defeats to Palace and Burnley, Norwich are getting worked out.

Football doesn't stand still, projects have to change. Is it time Norwich start to adapt and consider the short-term product, Premier League survival, over the long-term project, Premier League style?

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