Alex Neil is plotting Norwich City’s Wembley invasion
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil insists Norwich City will not head to Wembley as tourists as they look to clinch a Premier League place at the expense of play-off final rivals Middlesbrough.
The Scot has never been to the home of football but Neil and his players will be fully prepared for what lies in wait in front of an expected 88,000 fans and a worldwide television audience.
'My Wembley experiences consist of none. I've never been,' he said, after plotting City's 4-2 Championship semi-final aggregate win over Ipswich at Carrow Road. 'I told the players before the game there are not many occasions when you can actually go and play on Wembley. It doesn't come across in your lifetime all that often so I am really looking forward to that challenge and hopefully it's a successful one.
'We will go to London before the day, walk around Wembley and familiarise ourselves with the surroundings, although I am sure it will be different at kick-off on Monday week. I am not sure how many of the lads have played before – maybe one or two – but it is special. It will be special for them and for me, but only if you win.
'To come through a really tense affair, a tight game, and to come out of the other side knowing we did the job we set out to do is great. I am just delighted for the players, the fans and everybody at the club. We have given ourselves a 50-50 chance of reaching the Premier League.'
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Neil gave his squad a day off on Sunday but the Scot was back at his desk to begin the meticulous planning to face Aitor Karanka's Teessiders, who hammered Brentford 5-1 on aggregate in the other semi-final.
'We already have our week structured in terms of how we are going about it and getting everything fitted in,' said Neil. 'My week will be considerably different to the players. I will be up all hours making sure we are fully prepared to make sure we don't leave anything to chance.
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'We have analysis guys who I spend a lot of time with, and they're fantastic. They will go into real detail about how they will function, what their processes of play are, and how we can stop that and capitalise on their weaknesses. There will be a lot of prep work going in, as there has been for this game, but ultimately, you can do as much of that as you want, the players have to perform as well.'
Boro completed a league double over the Canaries recently with a battling 1-0 Carrow Road win over the run-in.
'They are a good side and we found it tough against them here,' said Neil. 'They got a goal, sat behind the ball and made it really difficult, but I expect both to be going at it hammer and tongs and if we can perform to our best then there is no reason we cannot win.'