Norwich head coach Daniel Farke rejects the showdown with Watford is a “must win” game – and launched an impassioned defence of his squad, which has lost all four of their opening Premier League matches.
The Canaries swept to a second Sky Bet Championship title under the German last season, but so far have again come up short on their return to the top flight.
Following arguably the toughest of starts – against Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester before losing 1-0 at Arsenal after the international break – the visit of fellow new boys Watford would appear to offer the perfect platform to kickstart the campaign.
Farke, though, maintains it is not just about the need to finally get some points on the board and everyone must keep the bigger picture in mind.
“The outside world is quite often pretty quick to judge the game as ‘must win’ – I even heard this when we had to travel to Arsenal,” he said.
“It is not at all. We want to win points in each and every game, but for us at this level not one game is easy.
“It does not differ if it is a home game against Liverpool or Watford – we want to make sure we are there with a top performance to give ourselves a chance to win points.
“If we perform like in the last two games, then we definitely have a chance to win points.
“If we start to doubt ourselves too early or to lose trust in the process and in the players, then we have no chance to establish ourselves at this level.”
New signings Ozan Kabak and Mathias Normann could both be involved, while Josh Sargent has recovered from a hamstring problem picked up on international duty.
There have been calls for the 21-year-old former Werder Bremen forward to lead the Canaries attack ahead of Teemu Pukki.
Farke, though, wants the fans to get fully behind the team, whatever side he decides to put out against Watford.
“When I think about Teemu Pukki, it is 29, 11, 26 – these are the number of goals he has scored in the past three seasons,” he said.
“There is no doubt he is one of the best strikers this club has ever seen, and he delivers for us with an unbelievable workload.
“For these players who have delivered so much for a club, it is important to stay positive, that we back them and show them respect.”
Norway midfielder Normann is another expected to add more steel to the Norwich side – but Farke maintains the current efforts of German Lukas Rupp must not be overlooked.
“If you ask the players who are with him each day on the training pitch, he would be the first on the team sheet,” Farke said.
“No other player is as experienced on this level and covers as much ground, wins more possession back for us.
“He is not perhaps playing football which is sexy like Cristiano Ronaldo – he is LR7 not CR7, more like an unsung hero.
“We need these type of players to be competitive and also the support for them.”