Alex Neil lays down the gauntlet and Norwich City respond in a 2-1 Championship win at Nottingham Forest
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil's stirring half-time team talk had the desired effect in Norwich City's comeback 2-1 Championship win at Nottingham Forest.
City ended the Reds' unblemished home league record this season but had to do it the hard way with Jonny Howson and Graham Dorrans cancelling out Apostolos Vellios' first-half strike after Wes Hoolahan had missed a penalty.
Norwich's third consecutive league win moved them up to second, two points behind early leaders Huddersfield Town, and also signalled their intent to bounce back from relegation at the first attempt.
'Over the piece I thought we were great but that second 45 minutes after the break was a joy to watch at the side and if you were a spectator you must have enjoyed that because there was some fantastic football being played,' said Neil. 'I just questioned them at half-time, 'How much do you want to win these type of games?' because you don't get something for nothing in this league. You have to want it more than them and I told them the first 15 minutes were going to be crucial. If we get the goal they will be scared of you because of the quality you have got but if you go out there with a bit of a whimper then they will see the game out.
'I think we were really unfortunate not to be leading at half-time. We had created the better opportunities, we had the penalty we missed and then to concede the goal was disappointing. We clocked off at the back post and conceded a header we shouldn't have. From that point if you miss a pen, and some good chances and they then take the lead it takes real character to come back from that and push on.'
Forest counterpart Philippe Montanier admitted his side had let Norwich off the hook after leading at the break.
'We're disappointed because it's our first home defeat and also because we were leading at half-time. Norwich are one of the best teams in the league but we have to be more consistent over the 90 minutes,' he said. 'In the first half we had a good control of the game but that went away in the second half. We made too many mistakes with the ball and once again we've conceded two goals which is not good enough, especially at home.
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'Norwich had eight shots on target today and we had two so that is not acceptable. That has been the difference today because we have not done well enough at either end of the pitch. They're a good side but we left it too late.'