Mike Phelan’s body language wasn’t right and it was time to move on

Norwich Manager Alex Neil and Norwich First Team Coach Mike Phelan during the Sky Bet Championship m

Norwich Manager Alex Neil and Norwich First Team Coach Mike Phelan during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, NorwichPicture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 64026717/01/2015 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

After just two months at the club Mike Phelan decided to move on to pastures new and looks set to work with his good friend and former Canary Steve Bruce at Hull City.

It is difficult to say whether Mike had much of an impact in his brief spell back as results and performances were very up and down.

Has he left because he didn't get the opportunity to become manager after seeing the club install Alex Neil?

Did he even want to become the number one?

I don't think I've read anywhere that he ever wanted the job – I think we all assumed he did. Only Mike can answer these questions.


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I watched Mike on Saturday and his body language wasn't of a person who really wanted to be at the club anymore. He hardly got out of the dug-out to talk to the new man in charge, which isn't like Mike Phelan.

From what I know and have heard he's very much hands-on and he was far from that on Saturday. Phelan isn't daft and he probably knew that Alex would want to bring his own staff with him. After all it happened to him at Old Trafford when Sir Alex Ferguson retired and David Moyes took over.

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I think it's right that Alex Neil brings his trusted assistant Frankie McAvoy, inset, with him from Hamilton as they've both known each other for years and it's quite clear they enjoy working together. You can tell that by the way they've turned Hamilton's fortunes around in such a short space of time.

I don't think that McAvoy starts at the club for a few weeks so there's a lot of work for Alex and Gary Holt to get on with. They could always promote Hucks (Darren Huckerby) from the under-18s to support them - I'm sure he'd do a great job especially coaching some of the young wingers that the club have at the moment.

A feel-good factor seems to be returning to the club and I have to say there was no better feeling than at 2.55pm on a Saturday afternoon than running out at Carrow Road when you knew that the team was flying. You had that sense of invincibility about you when we were winning games and scoring plenty of goals at home.

There would be games that we knew we would win because confidence was that high.

I get the feeling that this group of players are in that same place at the minute and I bet they can't wait for 3pm tomorrow.

Having won their last three home games, scoring 14 goals in those matches, the players will be itching to get out there and put Brentford to the sword. It is not going to be easy as Mark Warburton's men have had a fantastic season and have won seven of their last 10 games.

But surely the carrot for Alex Neil and the players will be if they can beat the Bees they will be in the top six and with 19 games to go I don't think the club will spend too much time out of it from now until the end of the season.

Kyle gives manager a lot to ponder

Saturday's performance against Cardiff City was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde one by Norwich City.

It was very much Mr Hyde in the first half but then Dr Jekyll reared his ugly head in the second. As good as the Canaries were in the first 45 minutes they were as sloppy in the second.

They really were in cruise control at half-time having scored three goals and totally dominated the game. Yes, John Ruddy saved a Peter Whittingham penalty at a crucial time in the first half but in all fairness Norwich could have gone in at the interval with a healthier lead.

I was impressed with the team's work-rate from the very first minute and it's obvious that Alex Neil wants his team to press very high up the field and try to win the ball back as quickly as they can.

There's none of this dropping off to the half way line letting the opposition defenders dictate play and have an eternity on the ball, and I like that.

Once again Gary Hooper and Cameron Jerome scored but I was delighted to see Kyle Lafferty score his first Norwich City goal and what a good finish it was. It wasn't just Kyle's goal that impressed me with him on Saturday but he really does put a shift in for the team. He's playing out of position but he works his socks off.

He does so much tracking back which he knows as a wide player you have to do and he also did some fantastic defensive work in his own penalty box which I'm sure his team-mates and his manager are well aware of.

He's going to find it extremely difficult to play in his more natural position of centre forward because of the form of both Hooper and Jerome but if he carries on playing as he did on Saturday, maintaining his work rate, Alex Neil will find it hard to keep him out of the starting XI.

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