Daniel Farke believes makeshift defender Ibrahim Amadou delivered the perfect response to justifiable recent criticism by helping secure Norwich’s first clean sheet of the season.
Amadou, signed on loan from Spanish side Sevilla as a midfield anchor, has been forced to fill in at centre-back due to City’s defensive injury crisis.
The 26-year-old produced a commanding first start in the unfamiliar position during last month’s shock 3-2 win over Manchester City but has since struggled and was culpable of mistakes during the Canaries’ subsequent three-game losing streak.
However, Frenchman Amadou was a key performer in Saturday’s gritty goalless draw at Bournemouth, prompting plaudits from his manager.
“This is the player I want to praise most,” said Farke.
“He came from abroad, always difficult, different culture, different language and he had to adapt in a key role when he wasn’t playing that much in the centre-back role because he’s actually a holding midfielder.
“He had a really, really good start in this role, for example our win against Man City, it was a world-class centre-back performance.
“The last two or three games he was criticised and, if I’m honest, we can’t say anything against this because he was involved in a few scenes and a few goals, a bit unlucky.
“But to then go on and deliver this performance, I think he was outstanding and showed real steel and mentality and character, that says a lot about his personality.
“I’m pretty pleased we have him.”
Norwich, already without injured centre-backs Christoph Zimmermann, Grant Hanley and Timm Klose, lost England Under-21 defender Ben Godfrey early in the second half at the Vitality Stadium.
That left Cameroon-born Amadou partnering fellow midfielder Alex Tettey at the heart of defence for the final 40 minutes as they secured a first Premier League away point of the campaign.
Godfrey underwent a hernia operation during the international break and Farke has his fingers crossed for positive news ahead of Manchester United’s visit to Carrow Road next weekend.
“I hope it was just because his body was getting tired, I hope it’s not a big setback,” said Farke.
“I hope to have him available for Man United but we have to wait for what the outcome is.”
Bournemouth were strong favourites to beat Norwich but, after a toothless display, had to be content with their first clean sheet of the campaign.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe feels his side have begun to show more defensive resilience.
“The last two games, I think defensively we’ve been a big improvement,” he said.
“The Arsenal game (a 1-0 loss) I thought we were relatively OK from the defensive side and we were strong again (on Saturday).”
Bournemouth were without combative Colombia midfielder Jefferson Lerma against the Canaries.
Howe added: “He picked up a hip injury away on international duty. We hope it’s nothing too serious and he’ll be back next week.”