Alex Neil is hurting just as much as Norwich City fans

Norwich manager Alex Neil and his backroom team show their appreciation to the home fans after beati

Norwich manager Alex Neil and his backroom team show their appreciation to the home fans after beating Watford 4-2. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil was humbled by the support of Norwich City's fans at the final whistle against Watford after relegation had been confirmed - but his family were not there to see it.

The Scot revealed yesterday his fear of a potentially hostile reaction to City's demotion meant his wife and children were not in attendance at Carrow Road. Neil, however, was feted during and after Norwich's 4-2 win against the Hornets.

'I wasn't expecting it,' he said. 'If I am honest, I told my wife to keep the children at home just because you don't know how things are going to pan out and the last thing I wanted was for them to get upset. I hope the fans recognise I worked extremely hard to make us as successful as we possibly can be. Anyone who knows me as a player or a person knows I am straight down the middle and honest. I feel as if I have let people down and I accept the criticism. There is no question it hurts. When you are a player you can hide a little bit in among the group, when you are the manager there is nowhere to hide.'

Neil insists he will be a better manager for the first relegation of his short coaching career.

'Right now this is a hard one for me to accept but there is no question this will make me stronger going forward,' he said. 'I think every year is a massive learning curve. Of course every season there is things you come across for the first time that you have to deal with. The only thing to do is look back, reflect and take the things you deem to be important.'