Norwich manager Daniel Farke claimed champions Manchester City would struggle to cope with his side’s defensive injury problems after grinding out a goalless draw at Bournemouth.
Farke’s injury-ravaged side picked up a first Premier League clean sheet and away point of the season, despite finishing an uneventful contest on the south coast without a recognised centre-back.
Ben Godfrey, who underwent a hernia operation during the international break, limped off early in the second period at the Vitality Stadium, leaving the Canaries with a makeshift pairing of Alex Tettey and Ibrahim Amadou.
Farke would not have to wait long to discover how Pep Guardiola’s City would fare in a similar situation as his post-match press conference coincided with them kicking off at Crystal Palace with midfield pair Fernandinho and Rodri at the heart of their defence.
“It’s definitely a great point today, without any doubt,” said the German.
“To have a first away point on this level and also the first clean sheet under your belt is always difficult but important and we did this today.
“The situation we had at the end I had to play without any centre-backs – all my four centre-backs are injured.
“And with all respect I love Manchester City but I would like to see them playing without all their centre-backs, and to play with (Ilkay) Gundogan and (David) Silva in the centre-back positions.
“I think even they would struggle to be solid in defending but we were today.
“We had periods when we controlled this game and were pretty close to gaining all three points.
“And of course three points on this level would have meant a really, really big step but without doubt a point in this situation is a great point and I just have compliments for the lads.”
Norwich’s battling display ended a three-game losing streak and produced a first point since shocking City last month.
Teemu Pukki almost gave the Canaries all three points with a powerful second-half drive which was tipped wide by Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
With Manchester United set to visit Carrow Road next weekend, Farke said he was unsure about the condition of England Under-21 international Godfrey.
“We have to wait a bit to see what the outcome is. He had hernia surgery 10 days ago and he had just one session with the team,” said Farke.
“If I’m honest it was worth to take the risk because he was top class in the first 50 minutes and it was important to have him on the pitch.”
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe admitted his side had failed to live up to expectations and credited Norwich with being “a tough nut to crack”.
Dominic Solanke came closest to breaking the deadlock for the hosts when he was denied by Tim Krul in the first half before the Cherries’ performance petered out.
The result was the club’s first 0-0 draw in the league for a year.
“People will see the fact we’re playing Norwich at home and the expectation is for it to be a home win and I understand that and that’s certainly our expectation as well,” said Howe.
“But these games are never that easy. I fully respect Norwich and their manager, their players and the way that they play. They’re a tough nut to crack and they were today for us.
“We sort of faded away in the game, stopped doing the things that had brought us that early dominance and then became quite desperate to score.”