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Alex Neil lays it on the line to Norwich City’s squad

Alex Neil will handle some big characters in the Norwich City dressing room. 

Picture: James Bass

Alex Neil will handle some big characters in the Norwich City dressing room. Picture: James Bass

Alex Neil knows his most important task is to win the respect of the Norwich City squad.

Factfile

Name: Alexander Francis Neil

Age: 33 (Birthday June 9, 1981)

Born: Bellshill, Scotland

Playing career: Midfielder for Airdrieonians, Barnsley, Mansfield and Hamilton

Managerial career: Player/manager at Hamilton since March 2013

Managerial record: P70 W37 D15 L18 (52.9pc win percentage)

The 33-year-old’s age and relative inexperience have been prominent themes since the Canaries head hunted the former Hamilton chief, but Neil has no fears he can handle a dressing room of internationals and big characters.

“Not a problem. That won’t faze me. The bottom line is they are football players,” he said. “They are like anybody else. They want to do well for themselves and their families. They want to be competitive and successful as they can be so that holds no fears for me. I have spoken to the squad and told them I am here to help and here to make sure we are functioning to our maximum potential as a group and individuals.

“The demands upon them will be I am prepared to give them 100% and I expect the exact same back and I am hoping we work well together and push on. I try to be honest with people, they might not always like it, but that is how it is. I try to create good relationships with players because I feel if you do that the one thing they will do is try their hardest for you, themselves and the group. I’ll be honest, upfront and I’ll let the lads know what is expected of them.”

Neil confirmed on Saturday his first team playing days are over although Norwich’s new boss may appear at development level.

“I don’t see myself playing for the first team. I am here in a managerial capacity. That is the role I am taking on,” he said. “If I did play it would certainly be with the under-21s to give them some guidance and try to teach them from within a game situation, not just on the sidelines.

“I want my team to play high energy football, we want to get in people’s faces, we want to get the ball and control it and attack. That is basically my philosophy. When the opposition are in possession I want us to get it back quickly.

“It is relatively simple. It is about getting us organised when we are in possession of the ball and how we go about that. I want us to hunt as a group rather than as individuals and I want to see that hunger and drive within the team. I want my teams to play attacking football, create chances and score as many goals as possible. I managed that at Hamilton and I plan to do the same here.”

Neil will be in the stands at Bournemouth with first team coaches Mike Phelan and Gary Holt preparing the squad for the trip to the Championship leaders.

“I was hoping to be in the dugout,” he said. “If I had been down from Thursday I would have put a stamp on the team and spoken to them in more detail and let them know what I am looking for. I’ve not had any time on the pitch with them so for me to do that is unrealistic.

“I will be in the stand, watching and I will probably come down at half-time and full-time and have a bit of input but in terms of setting the team up time has worked against us on that one.”

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16 comments

  • well done MP on keeping the team positive,lets all hope the new structure in management gets on well and bring back the winning streak.OTBC

    Report this comment

    canarykid

    Sunday, January 11, 2015

  • God. You really do like to moan, hope you enjoyed the result this afternoon, I'm sure you can find something to moan at, I'm sure you think it was a lucky result, and of no input from Alex. I for one enjoyed a gripping game, by a team picked by M.P and G.H, and motivated by A.N in the second half. I expect you wanted Tim Sherwood, the man that was sacked from Tottenham, for under achieving. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season, Good luck Alex. O.T.B.C

    Report this comment

    highborrans

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • God is a gas..trundle off back to where ever you came from. I was filled with fear when I saw who the favourites were for our job. I'd never heard of this guy when he was first mentioned..but I like the way he talks and I firmly believe this is one the Board may have got right. In any event, he has the job now, and has my full support..

    Report this comment

    Irish canary

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Didn't the board search the 'whole of Europe' for the best manager. I am concerned at the boards seemingly elementary grasp of geography. I know the board is inept but surely they could discern that Scotland is not the whole of Europe. Strange signing, but when your desperate......

    Report this comment

    God is a gas

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Watched the 1p5wich v Derby game in which Derby have ran out comfortable winners against a very ordinary looking side. Great to see Chris Martin on target once again too ! Derby up into second place now and snapping on the heels of Bournemouth, only separated by the GD. I had predicted earlier that the top two promoted teams are going to be Norwich & Derby and I still believe that is possible. We need a prompt response from our players today and I hope that Alex Neil has had the chance to work a bit of ‘motivational magic’ on the squad that gets they three points. I am not 100% sure, but I think AN can become the first ever City manager to win 3 Points on his first full day in the role if we win today !! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Agreed Dorset, sounds just what we would all like. Assume you'll be there today. I used to go to Dean Court often when I lived in Parkstone. Never thought I'd see B'mouth as Premier League material but looking more and more the part. COYY

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Interesting to see whether there are many changes to the squad for today. I wonder how the can't work won't work players are feeling after this initial airing of Neil's tactics. I'm sure it's opened the eyes of one or two.

    Report this comment

    VictorM

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Well it has been a busy week off the pitch at NCFC with a couple of big surprises between Monday & Friday. Let us hope that the players give the right response now and set us up with a win today ay B'mouth. This would have a real impact and send out the right message to all. Good luck Alex, lets hope the players can make you the first Norwich manager ever to win 3 points on his first full day in the job ! Win today and your stock with Canary fans will rise very quickly !!

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Neils philosophy sound just what the fans have been asking for now for at least 2 .5 seasons. The team need the lethargy removed from them,after all it shouldn't be too much to ask for with the wages they are receiving to play 90 or 180 minutes a week for half a year.

    Report this comment

    goldie

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • a lot of empty seats at portaloo Road for their big match.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Saying all the right things hope he gets a huge Canary rd welcome next weekend

    Report this comment

    Canaryinslovenia

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • I'll be interested to see what "hunting in a pack" looks like on the pitch.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Yep Dorset - looks like instilling some of the qualities which have been sadly lacking here - especially his belief in quick passing and getting into the opponents' faces and then defending properly when we lose the ball. Above all I hope he will stir the lethargy which far too many of our players have been displaying.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Fear not Wiv they'll just cut to the chequered flag.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • I do like his words here, bring it on AN; - “I want my team to play high energy football, we want to get in people’s faces, we want to get the ball and control it and attack. That is basically my philosophy. When the opposition are in possession I want us to get it back quickly. “It is relatively simple. It is about getting us organised when we are in possession of the ball and how we go about that. I want us to hunt as a group rather than as individuals and I want to see that hunger and drive within the team. I want my teams to play attacking football, create chances and score as many goals as possible. I managed that at Hamilton and I plan to do the same here.” - look forward to seeing AN become a success!!!

    Report this comment

    DorsetCanary

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

  • Less than four hours to ko against Bournemouth and zilch on the site about the game.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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