Neil Adams is growing into his new Norwich City surroundings with style

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was impressed by Norwich City's Neil Adams. Picture by Paul Cheste

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was impressed by Norwich City's Neil Adams. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Let's be clear from the outset – this sort of column needs to be taken in context. We all know Norwich City's last two results. We all know what they are still to face. And we should all be aware that being the first side to face Manchester United this season without David Moyes doesn't represent particularly good luck – certainly without the aid of hindsight anyway.

But while that is the backdrop, the foreground is being illuminated by Neil Adams – a man thrust into what may yet prove to be an impossible task, in delivering Premier League survival from City's final five games.

The former City winger has never appeared particularly daunted by the prospect of taking Chris Hughton's hot seat since earlier in April, that is true.

The confidence the Canaries board garnered from Adams' work leading the Under-18s to FA Youth Cup glory in such assured fashion last season was a reflection of the progress the current Norwich boss has made in his coaching career over the last two years.

But sat in the manager's chair for Thursday lunchtime's pre-match press conference at Colney – ahead of the Canaries' trip to an almost certainly rejuvenated Old Trafford – it wouldn't have been out of place if Adams had sat there licking his lips rather than answering questions.


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I'm not talking arrogance, cockiness or tempting fate – far from it.

Be it dealing with the man-management that comes with shepherding a Premier League squad, dealing with coming up against Ryan Giggs in his first game as United boss, or just the tactical challenge of preparing his team for plans A, B and C – Adams cut a figure that was not only enjoying his new job, but really settling into it.

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Maybe that's how it should be, given the remarkable fact that in his third game as a first-team manager he will still have two games more experience than his opposite number in the home dugout.

Adams is confident Giggs will cut the mustard as a manager, by virtue of his stellar playing record – one which isn't over yet either. What we don't know is whether that will take Giggs time, whether he will instigate an instant reaction on Saturday evening – or even if Adams' assertion will actually come to fruition.

After all, and unlike their City counterparts, the United board don't think Giggs is ready – otherwise they wouldn't have bothered with the word 'interim'.

Still, there isn't much the board at Manchester United has managed to get to grips with since David Gill departed and Ed Woodward stepped into his own world of the unknown.

Adams was bullish and certainly upbeat at Colney – but he also proved he is settling into the game management too. Most sides this season have lined up the same way against Liverpool, leaving Brendan Rodgers with the same tactical challenge to work through – one he usually passes it.

And he passed again on Sunday, but this time acknowledged it took much more effort.

The simple fact is City haven't had in-game tactical changes since Paul Lambert departed.

That could yet prove an advantage, should Giggs need a few games to settle into managing a football team – even if he still has a choice cut of playing staff at his disposal.

And if it doesn't? Well, it's hard to see Adams doing anything but look forward to taking on Jose Mourinho.

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