Alex Neil is out to put his mistakes right in Norwich City’s Championship fightback
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Alex Neil conceded to a rare sleepless night after Norwich City's Premier League relegation was confirmed but the Scot will have a whole summer to reflect on what he got wrong.
The 34-year-old's brutally honest assessment in the wake of the academic midweek 4-2 league win over Watford did not spare his own part in City's downfall.
'Being a manager of a football club who has just been relegated I don't think you are ever not going to have made mistakes,' he said. 'In hindsight there are areas I feel I could have done better with in a variety of different things. That is something I will look to improve to ensure it doesn't happen again.
'Obviously we have discussed recruitment at length and that is a separate issue but maybe in certain games, like Sunderland at home, I could have started more aggressively, maybe excluding Nathan Redmond from the starting XI was a mistake on my part.
'The Newcastle away game earlier in the season was another one, maybe on a couple of occasions I could have brought people on quicker. It is difficult to pinpoint them all off the top of my head and whether it would have been the difference or not in the final analysis who is to know, but it might have made a difference. I have to look at the part I played.'
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Norwich's 3-0 home defeat to Sunderland last month sent both clubs spinning in different directions and fuels that raw sensation this Canaries' demotion was avoidable.
'That is what makes it tough,' said Neil. 'We did have opportunities. With five games remaining we were four points above Sunderland and we had them to play at home. If you gave anybody that situation at the start of the season most would have accepted it.
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'We found ourselves in a situation where we had just taken seven points out of nine and that put us in a really strong position and if we had gone on and won that Sunderland game everyone would have been celebrating us going on hopefully staying the league, and it would have been looked on as a real achievement.'
City's capacity to throw points away from positions of strength is another source of irritation.
'I think there are other games we were leading and we didn't hold on that ultimately cost us points or we made crucial errors,' said Neil. 'In those type of circumstances if you are going to lose a game then the opposition should have to work to beat you. You are talking really about not taking a chance to put yourself 1-0 in a match up or a silly decision that puts you 1-0 down. There wouldn't have been a hell of a lot to go slightly differently to give us a different conclusion. Looking at the squad we have we would have hoped to perform better and we didn't hit those heights often enough.'