Alex Neil savours ‘perfect start’ after Norwich City’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth
17:58 10 January 2015
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New Norwich City boss Alex Neil savoured a ‘perfect start’ after plotting the 10-man Canaries’ 2-1 Championship win over leaders Bournemouth.
Gary Hooper and Cameron Jerome sealed a superb victory following Matt Ritchie’s first half opener, but City had to respond after Jonny Howson had been red-carded in the second half for wiping out Yann Kermorgant.
Neil watched the action from the directors’ box prior to Howson’s dismissal before joining Mike Phelan and Gary Holt in the dugout at the Goldsands Stadium.
“It was a fantastic win, to go away to the league leaders, down to 10 men, and then to manage to get a victory,” he said. “All credit has to go to the players and I am really pleased for those who travelled down.
“I’m definitely claiming that as my first win. Listen, if we had lost I would have probably been blamed for the defeat. Yeah, at the end of the day Mike (Phelan) and Gary (Holt) had prepared the team all week, they had selected the team but I did speak to the players last night when we were doing our debrief about Bournemouth.
“I spoke to them at half-time and then when we went down to 10 men. I just felt the circumstances had changed at that point and I was better suited to lend my support at the side of the pitch with the staff rather than just sitting in the stands. Thankfully for me we managed to get a goal when I came down and go on and win the game, so it was a perfect start.”
Neil revealed City could appeal Howson’s straight red card after the Yorkshireman appeared to win the ball with his right foot before sweeping Kermorgant to the ground with his left.
“I thought it was really harsh,” said Neil. “I was right in line with it and I thought Jonny (Howson) got the ball really clean but obviously the referee had a different angle to me and chose to send him off but we’ll have a look at the video and have a look at it. Potentially we might appeal. At first glance on the video it didn’t look like a sending off so we’ll get our guys to have a look and go from there.”
Cherries’ counterpart Eddie Howe was disappointed with the hosts’ failure to break down City’s 10-men.
“I don’t think we showed the real Bournemouth today,” he said. “We found it difficult going to build any pressure or momentum. We didn’t show our usual fluency with the ball and you have to give Norwich credit for that. Even with a man extra we couldn’t manage it and that is the frustration from our perspective at 1-1 you would expect us to bombard their goal and for what ever reason it didn’t really happen.
“I think if we needed reminding, which I don’t, about the quality of this division and how difficult it is to win in this division we got it today. Norwich have an outstanding squad. There is no doubting the quality of player they have got. We always knew today was going to be a really tough assignment.”