Alex Neil admits ref justice was not to blame in Norwich City’s 3-0 Premier League defeat to Tottenham
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil was adamant Norwich City were on the end of rough justice in Tuesday's 3-0 Premier League defeat to Tottenham at Carrow Road.
Neil demanded answers from referee Kevin Friend at the final whistle after Spurs were awarded a spot kick when Seb Bassong was adjudged to have fouled Dele Alli.
Harry Kane rifled home the penalty, following Alli's opener, before the England striker wrapped up a win which left City one place above the relegation zone.
'Listen, I am not blaming the referee. It is not his fault we have lost the game,' said Neil. 'We defended poorly and we didn't play well enough in the first half. I was having a go at him because I was not happy. To get two really contentious decisions against you as a manager you want to know why. Kevin's response was 'it was my fault, it was my fault you lost the game.' Obviously he was being sarcastic. We didn't get our fair share of decisions.
'There wasn't just the penalty but even the third goal the ball is on the safe side of the defender who tries to play it back and gets a nudge and on this occasion we don't get a foul.'
Neil felt Bassong's challenge on Alli in the first-half should never have been a penalty.
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'To be honest I am not one for complaining about referees,' he said. 'Sometimes you get decisions, sometimes you don't. There are 50, 50 moments in games where you can understand why he has given something but I thought their penalty was as soft as I have seen. No-one appeals for the penalty, no-one expects it and all of a sudden he points to the spot. I think you can tell with player reactions. The only ones who reacted were our players asking why the ref had given it. Seb Bassong came together with Dele Alli. He doesn't wipe him out, they both make an attempt to get the ball. For him to see that as a penalty is really disappointing.
'Then we have one at the other end with Steven Naismith. I didn't think that was a glaring penalty. I have seen it given but the fact he sees it that way in one box and not in the other is where the frustration comes from as a manager.'
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Neil admitted City were again too porous after conceding within two minutes when Alli reacted quickest to slam home Christian Eriksen's shot. Norwich have now shipped 14 league goals in their last four games.
'We need to defend better for a start and when you concede a goal after a minute and a half that does not help your cause,' he said. 'In terms of goalscoring I think we have scored more than the last time we were in the Premier League already with 14 games remaining. We have certainly got goals but we need to make sure we keep the back door shut.'