Alex Neil adamant Russell Martin should not be a Norwich City scapegoat

Norwich City captain Russell Martin has the backing of Alex Neil. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus I

Norwich City captain Russell Martin has the backing of Alex Neil. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Russell Martin should not be the scapegoat for the Canaries' recent struggles, insists Norwich City boss Alex Neil.

City lost three Premier League games and slipped out of the FA Cup to Manchester City after ringing in 2016 with a league win over Southampton.

Martin's errant back pass in the 5-4 top flight defeat to Liverpool at Carrow Road last time out was predictably highlighted after the skipper was preferred to Ryan Bennett and Timm Klose alongside Seb Bassong in central defence.

'It is unfair to single out any individual,' said Neil. 'Russell made an error in terms of the back pass, however, there was another four goals we conceded on the back of that. What happens is there are always favourites and fall guys in any squad. Unfortunately for whatever reason what you tend to find is guys who have been there for a long time and served the club well sometimes seem to bear the brunt of that and in Russell's case it is unfair.'

Martin was part of a City defence left exposed in a brutal finish to a bizarre Premier League game.

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'You need to give your front players an opportunity to win the game and the only way you do that is by being aggressive and taking it to the opposition,' said Neil. 'But in the same sense you have to be capable of keeping the door shut and giving the lads at the back enough protection so they are not exposed.

'We got one part right against Liverpool, the other, not quite right on the day.'

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