Alex Neil - Norwich City playing for high stakes in Premier League survival race

Norwich manager Alex Neil knows the Canaries are playing for high stakes. Picture by Paul Chesterton

Norwich manager Alex Neil knows the Canaries are playing for high stakes. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City boss Alex Neil admits he would be lying if he was not looking over his shoulder as the race for Premier League survival hots up.

Sunderland's surprise 1-0 away league win at Crystal Palace earlier this week tightened things up at the bottom and Neil will be an interested observer again on Saturday with all four clubs below the Canaries in league action.

The Scot, however, insists City control the own destiny this season ahead of Sunday's tussle against Arsenal at Carrow Road (KO 4:15pm).

'It's not just me. I'm sure everybody would be lying if they said they didn't look at results around the league and the table,' he said. 'Of course you look to see how the teams are doing around about you - the ones just above you because you want to catch them and the ones below because you want to keep them there.

'I look at all the results, watch as many of the games as I can but I am not overly concern if a team wins a game. We have to focus on us and make sure we win our games.'

Neil has no specific points target in mind with the annual benchmark for survival seen as 40.

'It is tough to say how many it will take,' he said. 'I don't think you are fighting relegation until the last six weeks or so. If any of the teams towards the bottom end right now can distance themselves by that point then you give yourselves a really good chance. If you are down there at that stage then you have a fight on your hands.'

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Neil feels the success of Leicester and Palace this season underlines how difficult it is to make predictions in the Premier League.

'The modern game is focused now on counter-attacking. Its why perhaps a lot of the bigger teams are not winning the number of games they used to,' he said. 'Teams are becoming more tactically aware and with the pace in modern teams it is set-up for them to do it. A few years ago it was about breaking a team down, that is not always the case now.'