Opinion: Time for Wagner to 'never mind the danger'

Fan's voice

Gary Gower, My Football Writer - Norwich City

In typical Norwich City fashion, their narrow 1-0 defeat by relegated Birmingham on the final day of the regular season divided opinion.

For some, it was fine. Despite losing, the result was still sufficient for the Canaries to earn their place in the play-offs. In doing so, they picked up no new injuries and spread the workload - giving game time to those who needed it and resting those who needed protecting.

In theory, nothing not to like.

But for others, producing such a dire performance – something that no one could contest – was not the ideal preparation for the play-offs, particularly given that City were being talked up seven days earlier as likely to be the most in-form of the four playoff teams.

It’s probably only right at this stage to declare an interest and say I was in the latter group – one of the ‘others’.

But I can wholeheartedly see where the ‘some’ were coming from and, ultimately all that mattered, if looking at the bigger picture, was being in the play-offs with a relatively fit squad.

Ironically, we now find ourselves pitched against the team that enters the play-offs off the back of a run of form that sees them 22nd in the form table, with a record of won 1, drawn 1, and lost 4.

Strip away the fact they are called Leeds United, are managed by Daniel Farke, and have, on paper, a squad that’s already equipped to compete in the lower half of the Premier League, and you would have to fancy City's chances.

Even taking into account the infamous 'along come Norwich' factor, logic suggests we have a more-than-fighting chance of going toe-to-toe with Yorkshire’s Los Blancos, and should have no reason to fear them.

And I really really hope that’s a sentiment shared by David Wagner. And I hope too that it’s one he shares with his players.

Because, for all the good things that Wagner has produced over the second half of this season, one of the ongoing criticisms has been around how he sets his team up to play opponents he deems technically superior.

Cautious would be one way to describe it. Tentative would be another.

What it isn’t is gung-ho and, to be honest, we’re all cool with that. To go all-guns-blazing against good sides exposes gaps for those sides to exploit. But it is okay to still be brave and play on the front foot when the opportunity presents itself.

For many of us, Wagner has struggled to find that right balance.

But Leeds, regardless of the bravado that will emerge from South Yorkshire in the next few days, are wobbling. Even, in some quarters, a tiny bit fearful.

So please let’s not hand the initiative to Farke’s men on Sunday and allow them to play themselves back into some form.

Be bold, be positive, and allow a thunderous Carrow Road to do the rest.

Never mind the danger.