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Marginal gains is Alex Neil’s mantra at Norwich City

07:30 17 January 2015

Norwich City midfielder Alexander Tettey is an injury doubt for Cardiff City

Norwich City midfielder Alexander Tettey is an injury doubt for Cardiff City's visit. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Alex Neil has spent his first full week telling Norwich City’s players how good they are. Now he wants them to prove him right on his Carrow Road debut against Cardiff City.

Neil’s presence on the touchline for the defining moments at Bournemouth had the desired effect and the Scot is confident he has not taken on a major re-building job.

“The sense I get from the squad is they are looking for direction. They want me to tell them what I want and what my demands are so I don’t think wholesale changes are needed,” he said. “We are seventh so the season has not been a bad one but there are things we need to improve on. They are a great set of lads, really professional and the way they went about their work this week has been very focused. They are very receptive to information in terms of the points I have put across and what I am looking for, but I haven’t been filling the players’ heads with too much information. That can sometimes be an issue. I have given them clear guidelines and I have told them the picture will become clearer as the weeks go on.”

Neil has found time to do his homework on why City flattered to deceive in recent months after a positive Championship start.

“Sometimes it comes down to personal performance or maybe the shape wasn’t quite suited or people weren’t doing their jobs properly,” he said. “There is a whole host of reasons why that could be the case, but it has not been a horrendous season. We are sitting a point out of the play-offs, eight points off the top. It’s not like we have been cut adrift so we are not that far away from going on a good run. At times I think we have been unfortunate. I’ve watched a lot of the recent games back and for the vast majority we probably controlled most of them and were the better side and not taken chances when they have arisen or left ourselves vulnerable at the back and been punished.”

Neil may be new to his Norfolk surroundings but Cardiff will not have the element of surprise.

“A huge part of my week is spent breaking down the game we’ve played and working out what went right and what went wrong and analysing the new opposition. They will be fully prepared,” he said. “They know what is coming. I think Cardiff are very direct, whether it is (Alex) Revell or Kenwyne Jones up top. They like to bang it from back to front and squeeze the game and look for second balls. We have to make sure first of all we fight for that first ball and then make sure we pick up the second balls. If we do that then I am hopeful our quality, in terms of moving the ball, will be good enough to go and break them down. I expect that to be the case.”

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9 comments

  • kf, that would apply to most squads probably! Lot to be said for keeping things simple.

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • I like Alex Neil's comment that he is "not filling their heads with too much information. That can sometimes be an issue". Polite way of saying our squad reach overload if they have more than one thought running at a time = not too bright.

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    kenfoggo

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • Canary West - agree, but Neil Adams was probably a bit too close and matey with the squad?

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    kenfoggo

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • The only worry I have is that Neil adams used to say these exact same things...

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    CanaryWest

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • This guy doesn't mess around! If your rubbish he will get rid if your lazy he will make you determined to prove him wrong. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Vampire Jon

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • For me, so far, this new Manager is saying all the right things. I just hope the lazy squad we have do not let him down as they most definitely have the last two Managers. Waves of positivity for this game. Go!

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    kenfoggo

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • Yes good to see that he has analysed our recent games, both in defence and attack and ha hopefully taking steps to eradicated many of the errors we consistently make. Defenders watching the ball rather than players instantly springs to mind. I get the impression though, that any failures today will see him come down like a ton of bricks.

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    TrevorKeith

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • Totally agree Dingo, its quite refreshing and he seems to be quite open. I really hope this works out as I am sure we all love the excitement we should have each Saturday afternoon, enjoy the game mate.

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    spanishcanary

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • He seems frighteningly knowledgeable and not afraid to share and Communicate his views. See you at three Alex.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

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

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