Alex Neil dismisses Norwich City’s Premier League critics

Norwich manager Alex Neil is prepared to play a waiting game in the transfer market. Picture by Paul

Norwich manager Alex Neil is prepared to play a waiting game in the transfer market. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is warning the critics predicting Norwich City's Premier League demise to write off the Canaries at their peril, ahead of Saturday's opening test against Crystal Palace at Carrow Road.

City have been touted for a swift return to the Football League but Neil is in bullish mood prior to his top flight bow against the Eagles.

'Does that bother me? Not at all. I am used to that,' he said. 'The same thing happened up at Hamilton when we went into the top league in Scotland. I think something like eight out of eight pundits had us finishing in last place and we were third at Christmas when I left. It is just people's opinion. Ultimately the proof will be in the pudding and that is a good challenge for us to go and prove people wrong and show them what we have got. To be honest, we won't be discussing anything like that in the dressing room. We know what we are trying to do so there is no need for any external motivation. We are motivated enough to achieve our goals.

'Yes, it's a higher level and we are not underestimating how tough it will be but your principles remain the same. We are up for the challenge and speaking to the players they felt disappointed when they came down last time, because they felt they had more than enough to stay in the league, so that is a great starting point for us.'

Neil knows the value of a fast start on home soil, but insists fans and players alike must keep the bigger picture in mind.

'A lot will be read into this first game,' he said. 'I thought when I first arrived the emotions went up and down far too often. We have to keep it steady and a lid on it. If we win, we are not going to finish in the top four and if we lose it doesn't mean we are not going to not pick up a point for the rest of the season. There will be stages when we do well and not so well.'