Norwich City’s Alex Neil insists it is not ‘advantage Bournemouth’ in Premier League survival stakes
07:15 18 January 2016
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Alex Neil dismissed any notion Bournemouth may have struck a psychological blow in the survival battle after a 3-0 Premier League win over Norwich City.
Neil accepted his side were a long way short of what was required with Dan Gosling, Charlie Daniels and former Norwich transfer target Benik Afobe on target to inflict a sobering defeat. Eddie Howe’s side moved a point clear of the Canaries, but Neil is cautioning there will be plenty of sub-plots over the run-in.
“I don’t read anything into them getting a psychological advantage now they are a point above us. There wasn’t any when we were above them,” he said. “The bottom line is this was a game to pick up three points and distance ourselves from teams at the lower end of the table. We didn’t do that. They climb above us but there are plenty of games left. That is us and Bournemouth done now for the season so what will determine it from here is who does it between the other teams, and we are certainly going to have perform better than here.”
Neil was left hugely frustrated by City’s tame offering, but insisted it was not on a par with previous lows at Newcastle or Watford.
“No, I wouldn’t put it in that bracket. I felt in spells we did okay,” he said. “The Watford game, we didn’t perform at all and Newcastle was rare, it was divided in the sense we attacked well, we just didn’t defend well that day.
“It is football. Players, at times, don’t perform as well as they can. That is the joys of being a manager. You put the team out with the same information and you get one performance and a couple of weeks later you get a completely different performance. We are really frustrated and disappointed but we cannot over-react to one performance. The next game will determine if this is a blip or not.
“It is difficult to put your finger In terms of selection, it has been relatively consistent over the last five or six games. We had to make a change with Gary (O’Neil) but they have been playing well.”
Neil shared Howe’s sentiments life could have been even tougher for Norwich at the Vitality Stadium if Declan Rudd had been dismissed for a late knee-high challenge on Afobe.
“It could possibly have been a red card, I have seen them given in the past,” he said. “There was also a penalty shout before that but I was too far away from the incident. If I am being honest, decisions didn’t matter in this game.
“If you don’t have seven or eight guys competing and moving the ball well enough you are not going to win. The simple fact is we had too many under-par. I haven’t got any complaints about the game, but certainly plenty about one team.”