Alex Neil is ready for his Premier League challenge at Norwich City

Norwich City manager Alex Neil is relaxed about his Premier League bow. Picture: Antony Kelly.

Norwich City manager Alex Neil is relaxed about his Premier League bow. Picture: Antony Kelly. - Credit: Archant

Alex Neil knows how big his first crack at the Premier League is but the Norwich City manager insists he has faced a bigger challenge in his brief managerial career.

Neil will be the youngest boss in the top flight when the Canaries' return to the big time against Crystal Palace at Carrow Road this Saturday and the 34-year-old is prepared for the inevitable hype around him.

'I would probably say my first year in management was the biggest,' he said. 'If you look at the statistics something like 70pc of managers don't get another chance after their first one. You have to make that one count and I was conscious of that. I had to hit the ground running, because I am in this for the long haul. The last thing I want to be doing is sitting in the house and that means winning games.

'You could argue last year was harder because we were expected to do well and win games to get in the Premier League. I will approach it exactly the same way. I don't do much reflecting, there is always the next challenge to go and prove yourself. In football what you have done is quickly forgotten. You have to continually improve. You always have something to prove. Some of the best in the world get questions. (Lionel) Messi was apparently too small when he started, so if he can be questioned then who am I?'

Neil accepts expectations are radically different compared to last season's promotion success.


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'We know we are not the big fish of last year,' he said. 'Every game I went into last year people were telling me we were favourites and we had the best squad. I don't think too many will tell me that this year. We will approach it exactly the same way and attack it. We will be desperate to win and providing we continue to perform the way they have done in the six months I have been here we should be fine.'

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