Alex Neil hits back at claims Norwich City’s squad is divided
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Bullish Alex Neil denied he is in charge of a toxic dressing room at Norwich City.
Neil went on the front foot at Colney on Monday morning ahead of the Championship trip to Bristol City as the fallout continued from Saturday's 5-1 hammering at Sheffield Wednesday.
Cameron Jerome made his feelings clear on the Canaries' shortcomings in his post-match interview at Hillsborough in an echo of Russell Martin's brutal analysis after the 5-0 mauling at Brighton earlier this season.
'There are not big issues (with the dressing room),' said Neil. 'There is a frustration and how does that manifest itself? How do you release it? Ultimately you are going to look at yourself and then the guys around you and saying that is not enough from me and certainly not enough from you lads as well. You get angry, frustrated. They are not good emotions. I don't know what else you expect the guy to say? He spoke honestly and openly and we have shared the frustrations and anger amongst each other because we feel we should be performing better.
'We went to Brighton, we got beat convincingly, we went to Sheffield and we got beat convincingly. They haven't performed well enough. That is a fact.
'After games when you speak to a manager or a player everything is really, really raw. It is like if something really bad happens to you and I ask you at the time, 'How do you feel about it?' then what you say might be a different tone to a day or two later when you have calmed down and had time to reflect upon it. It might be slightly more balanced. Cameron spoke from emotion, he spoke from the fact he thought we had let ourselves down. That we had not performed well enough. I don't think anyone could dispute that fact.
'What he actually said was there was a lack of respect towards the management, in regard to they didn't follow the instructions. That is what you forgot to add. He is talking about a lack of respect, in the sense when your mate is in trouble, or not performing well, what we should be doing is rallying around as a group to bail him out. To bail him out of the s*** basically. We are not doing that at the moment. We are looking after our own wee bit, which isn't the basis of a great team, is it? However we have displayed those attributes at stages throughout the season. We have not done it consistently enough. When you don't then you just become an average team.'
Neil insisted he had no problem with Jerome's heartfelt outburst.
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'I was not angry with Cameron Jerome one bit for saying that,' said Neil. 'If you are a fan and you turn around and say you want people to be honest, rather than trotting out c**p lines every week, what happens is somebody is honest and then its, 'I can't believe someone has said that,' so what do you want? Do you want us to kid on or do you want us to be honest? What we should be doing is talking about how honest Cam was and how we will look to respond going into Tuesday. Do you want someone who cares or who lets it wash over then and picks up a good salary every week? I know what I want. In my eyes that is not a bad thing to show how much you care.'
The City chief promised changes for the trip to Bristol but has a 'couple of bumps and bruises' following Saturday's defeat and Sunday's post-mortem with the squad.
'We didn't really play well enough to pick up injuries,' he said. 'There'll be changes in the game. There have always been frank discussions. It has never changed but equally when we are in a position where we have a real prospect of getting in the play-offs it is about making sure we are all focused and positive but at stages there needs to be some frank discussions to suggest what we produced at that game (on Saturday) was certainly not good enough. We need to improve on that.'
Neil revealed Matt Jarvis is still not in contention for the squad after an injury-hit season. Nelson Oliveira (foot), Youssouf Mulumbu (thigh), Graham Dorrans (knee) and Louis Thompson (Achilles) remain sidelined.