Alex Neil is raising the bar even higher at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is not a man given to hyperbole and the Norwich City boss insisted his side must top the manner of their impressive 3-1 Championship win against Nottingham Forest.
The Canaries threatened to overwhelm an in-form Forest side at Carrow Road when Wes Hoolahan slotted a penalty just before the hour mark after earlier goals from Jonny Howson and Cameron Jerome.
Neil, however, was irked by Chris Burke's late reply which forced the hosts to endure an uncomfortable spell before confirming they remain a serious contender for automatic promotion.
'I reminded the players of that at the end because the last thing we want to do is have a good 80 minutes of quality football getting ruined by 10 minutes of sloppiness or a lack of professionalism,' he said. 'I told the players afterwards some people's thoughts as they walk out of the ground are going to be focused on those 10 minutes, whereas what they should be talking about is how well we played for those other 80 minutes of the match. 'We need to make sure that sloppiness does not creep into our game but at the end of the day we won 3-1 and that was our objective.
'There were some fantastic individual performances and I thought they showed the real hunger and desire it takes to be at the top of the table, especially after what happened at Huddersfield. Maybe there was one or two starting to question us a wee bit but we have answered a few with that result.'
Norwich's second half surge effectively sealed victory with Jerome's impudent back heel followed by Hoolahan's nerveless penalty proving the perfect response to Neil's demands for a high octane resumption to the action.
'We spoke at half-time about the Derby situation, in terms of how we were winning that game 1-0 as well,' he said. 'What we couldn't do was sit on our laurels because all it takes is one mistake, one error, one bit of magic in their ranks and the next minute all that hard work is undone.
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'Forest had not shown much apart from one chance in the first half when John (Ruddy) makes a really good save, but in terms of the actual game we had controlled it, and we needed to force the issue.
'It was really important we started that second half brightly, we were on the front foot and we were the ones dictating and I thought from the first minute we were the dominant force and in that period we were fantastic.'