If winning two Carabao Cup games was a faux cup run, winning three makes it a bona fide one.
That Daniel Farke has chosen the competitive rather than experimental path for this competition certainly helps, but crucially so too that his new squad is showing very promising signs of togetherness and cohesion.
The bore draw with Burton that caused such angst seems more than eight days ago, that’s for sure.
Another thing… that ball has started to run kindly. On another day Yoann Barbet’s penalty would have nestled in the back of Angus’s net instead of exiting the Earth’s atmosphere and Justin Shaibu’s 25-yarder would have hit the post and gone in, yet the breaks went City’s way.
And, as the saying goes, you make your own luck. Or at least you earn it.
I wasn’t at Griffin Park, so was at the mercy of radio commentary and clips on Sky Sports, but it was interesting and telling that a couple of the players who came into the side last night made their marks for all the right reasons.
That Mario Vranic is a fine technician with a left foot that can open a tin of beans is not in doubt, but what hasn’t been apparent in his Championship bedding in period is a desire to scrap when scrapping is the order of the day. But he’s clearly learning and give him a dead ball and he’ll make it count.
Buoyed by the confidence that will have been gained from the brace he scored last night and by a penny that is slowly starting to drop, Farke has a player on his hands whose star may finally be starting to rise. He may not start every game and probably finds himself in the Maddison/Wes/Naismith attacking midfielder rotation, but a fresh, committed and up-to-speed Vrancic will be an asset.
James Husband was another to emerge from Griffin Park with an extra spring in his step after a good evening’s work – this after a very useful cameo at the back end of the Battle of Bramall Lane – and is another who may just be starting to find his feet after a very difficult opening couple of months to his Norwich career.
And the Tom Trybull story continues. Another impressive display by all accounts to add to an already impressive mini-catalogue and all capped off with a beautifully weighted slide-rule pass to Josh Murphy for the third goal. The pragmatist in me says wait until January to wave an improved, longer contract under his nose but the passionate fan in me wants Stuart Webber to be interrupting his day off with a surprise visit to discuss terms.
From the relatively little we have seen, it seems clear we have a player on our hands; one who is rapidly playing himself into ‘first name on the team-sheet’ territory.
But, in general, let’s not get too carried away. We’ve been here a thousand times before and football is great at whacking you where it hurts if you start getting believing the hype. We beat a Brentford second string last night and still needed a little help from the footballing gods, yet there is now good reason to look ahead with optimism – both in terms of cup and league.
There are some serious tests just around the corner though – starting on Saturday against some buoyant Robins – and between now and the end of October some serious challenges await.
It’s okay to feel cock-a-hoop when things are going well if the collective can then handle defeat like mature adults – and we prove continually that we’re not very good at that. So lets embrace the fact we’re on a proper cup run and accept we’re on an upward curve that will, at some point, suffer a blip.
Not going to happen is it.