Alex Neil meets Timm Klose criticism head on after a watching brief for Norwich City new boy
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil met the inevitable flak over his decision to hold back Timm Klose head on following his big-money move from Wolfsburg.
The Swiss international centre-back had a front row seat on the Norwich substitutes' bench as the carnage unfolded in the second-half at Carrow Road, with Ryan Bennett omitted completely as Neil put his faith in captain Russell Martin and Seb Bassong at the heart of a backline breached five times.
'I felt (Christian) Benteke wasn't going to start, because he played against Exeter and I thought Russell would've suited playing against Firmino, which he did,' said Neil. 'For 65 minutes we managed to deal with that threat, for the main part. I felt it was a decision which was right. Timm Klose had only trained two days and the fact I was giving (Ivo) Pinto his debut and it has taken him two to three weeks to get up to speed I didn't think it would be fair to Timm to chuck them both into the same side. I went for the guys who have been here and done a job for me in the past 12 months. Of course the number of goals we are conceding is a concern.
'Stoke was a game we went down to 10 men, so that is one I can make half an allowance for, and Manchester City in the FA Cup we made seven changes and I made no qualms the league was the most important. The simple fact is if you score four goals at home you should be going home with three points.'
Alex Tettey's defensive protection was also sorely missed with the Norwegian suffering a stomach bug.
'I got a call from the doctor in the morning on my way to the ground to say that Alex had been up all through the night with sickness,' said Neil. 'He wasn't able to play and we did miss that bit of steel you need at times, winning tackles and breaking up the game, but I thought Graham Dorrans' use of the ball was excellent in our best spells and that is why he was in the side.'
Neil aims to channel his rage at Norwich City's second-half surrender into getting the Canaries' Premier League quest back on track.
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City's squad can bank on an uncomfortable few days at Colney sifting through the wreck of a 5-4 defeat which kept them firmly mired in the relegation battle.
'I think when you get days like this as a player you should feel the pain, you should feel the hurt,' said Neil. 'What it should do is create an anger and a determination to come back even stronger. That's what it certainly does for me. I'm extremely disappointed, but come Monday or Tuesday morning when we come back in, I'll be even more determined to make sure we work even harder.
'To put that much effort in, in terms of preparation, and then perform the way we did in the last 25 minutes is hard to take. It is hard to know really know what to say. I am angry, extremely angry and so should the players with themselves. Anger, frustration, they should feel all that and more when you throw a game away you are in control of.'