Alex Neil downplays ‘Sergeant Major’ tag at Norwich City

Norwich manager Alex Neil has got his points across to Canaries' squad. Picture by Paul Chesterton/F

Norwich manager Alex Neil has got his points across to Canaries' squad. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The tough taskmaster label appears to have been bestowed on Alex Neil, but Norwich's upturn is built on much more than the sheer force of his personality.

City's players have queued up since the Scot's recent arrival to hail the 33-year-old's impact in guiding Norwich firmly back into promotion contention ahead of another epic showdown against bitter rivals Ipswich.

Neil was an unknown commodity to most in these parts when he first moved south from Hamilton, but the Canaries' squad is already firmly on message

'In Scotland I was a no-nonsense player so people probably had that perception,' he said. 'When I came down here it was a fresh start, no-one knew me, I don't think any of the players knew me but it is the same as anything else. People will behave towards you how you let them. If you let somebody take the mick out of you they will continue to do that, so if you show authority they know what they are dealing with quickly and respond accordingly. I am not a big sergeant major who comes in shouting and bawling at people. I came in really clearly and precisely and showed them this is the way it is going to be. They were told I will match everything they give 100% and I expect the same back.'

Neil views the only blemish on his Norwich record, the 2-1 league defeat to Brentford, as a catalyst for change.

'That gave me the opportunity to really put my stamp on things and since then we have grown,' he said. 'The structure of the week is different, we work differently in terms of analysis and tactically now, even right down to how we are set up for corners and throws.'