Adapt or get left behind is Alex Neil’s Premier League warning for Norwich City

Norwich City's Jonny Howson and Dieumerci Mbokani combined to sink Swansea City. Photo: Chris Radbur

Norwich City's Jonny Howson and Dieumerci Mbokani combined to sink Swansea City. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Alex Neil insists Norwich City must adapt to the new reality in the Premier League or risk getting left behind.

City return to action following the international break against a struggling Chelsea looking to build on resolute displays at Manchester City and the 1-0 home league win over Swansea City.

Neil curbed his squad's attacking instincts to beat the Swans in what he labelled a 'back-to-basics' approach to end a four-game losing league run.

'If you look at the teams who want to get on the ball and dominate that way they are near the bottom of the league, unless you have the best players,' he said. 'I had to adapt and make sure we come up with a way that gives us the best opportunity of trying to win. Up to that point I hadn't needed to change anything because it worked last year and also in my time at Hamilton. It is not as if we weren't doing well and I had stuck with the same way of playing. When you are winning games there is no need to do more than tweak.

'I just think the game has evolved now into a really counter-attacking approach. It nearly worked at Manchester City, but for a couple of errors. We went with three centre backs and two wing-backs and we felt something similar would work against Swansea. That game was more about the result than the performance, and that is probably the first time since I have been here I would say that, because I always feel if you perform well enough you will win games.'

Neil's successful strategy worked perfectly against the toiling Swans.

'When expansive teams are not getting any joy they become even more expansive and commit even more men forward to try and break you down,' he said. 'That leaves more gaps at the back, and I know that because it's what we have done in our games. You just hope they don't get the first goal because it then changes the dynamic. We got it and it played right into our hands. It happened the other way round against West Brom in the home game before that one.'

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