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Norwich City boss Alex Neil targets extra muscle in January window for the Premier League push

Norwich City have had to up their game in the Premier League. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City have had to up their game in the Premier League. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Alex Neil aims to beef up his Norwich City squad in the January transfer window to flourish in the land of the Premier League giants.

The Canaries’ chief admits his first brush with the top flight has convinced him of the need to try and attract more muscle to remain competitive. Norwich kept their first league clean sheet against Swansea City prior to the international break, but have been punished too often on set pieces.

“I wouldn’t say we are the biggest of teams in terms of size or stature and I don’t think that helps us,” said Neil. “But I have never picked a player or signed a player because he is 6ft 4in and can head a ball, obviously if he is a centre-back that helps, but we try to put out the best team we think is capable of winning games by playing football. I would never pick a team on the basis solely of dealing with set pieces, but of course it is something I pay attention to and something we are aware we might need to address in January.

“In terms of size and competitiveness we have a couple of relatively big players and we are trying to make sure they get their heads on things and win vital battles. Looking at statistics and speaking to the players we have not done that at times and it has cost us. It is hard to work on that because it comes down to individual tussles.”

Neil has detected a major gulf in the physical prowess of Premier League opponents compared to Championship combat.

“Teams in England are generally always big, you look at the Championship and that is the case, but the nous and the power and the speed in the Premier League is a step up from that level,” he said. “You are taking player intelligence and adding that to someone who is 6ft 3in and can run like the wind, whereas in the Championship they are big and strong but maybe not as tactically aware or clever in terms of that first couple of steps. It is certainly enhanced in the Premier League.”

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