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'Third miracle' too much for relegated Norwich, says Farke

FOOTBALL By Reuters | July 12th 2020
July 11, 2020 West Ham United's Michail Antonio scores their third goal to complete his hat-trick, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pool via REUTERS

Norwich City could not add a "third miracle" to their story as a 4-0 thrashing by West Ham United at Carrow Road on Saturday condemned the Norfolk club to relegation from the Premier League, manager Daniel Farke said.

Michail Antonio's four-goal salvo sent Norwich into the Championship and they are the first team to be relegated from the Premier League five times. They have 21 points from 35 games, 13 adrift of 17th-placed Watford with three games left.

German coach Farke, who took over at Norwich in 2017 and developed young talent to play an exciting brand of football which resulted in promotion to the top flight, said he was "unbelievably disappointed" for the club and their fans.

"When I came here we needed to develop young players and sell them to keep the club going. We were able to do this," Farke was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"Then the second season no one expected anything but we were able to stage a miracle... we won the Championship title with a special brand of football. We were not able to add a third miracle in a row against all odds."

Norwich, who showed promise early in the campaign when they beat defending champions Manchester City, have lost 24 times this season -- more than any other team.

Experienced midfielder Alex Tettey, 34, said a lack of consistency made Norwich the architects of their own downfall.

"This club has not been a club that buys well-established players. If you have a group and a collective that you’re trying to create you need to be consistent," he told BT Sport.

"We've been in games sometimes but we don't have the mentality or character to get those wins. It's been a tough journey. It's a young group but they will now have that experience."

Farke's side have scored only twice since the season restarted after the COVID-19 hiatus with Teemu Pukki's goal drought extending to 13 games in all competitions.

Pukki is the club's top scorer with 11 league goals this season but the Finnish striker has not netted since January.

While Emiliano Buendia tried his best to create chances on Saturday, Norwich missed Todd Cantwell, who only came on for a 20-minute cameo having just recovered from a thigh injury.

"From the first day after promotion our chances to survive were perhaps 5%, so in 19 out of 20 cases you will go down," Farke added. "If you have luck and no injuries then you have a chance."

Norwich will finish the season with games against Chelsea, Burnley and Manchester City.

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