Alex Neil refutes any suggestion Norwich City bottled their Premier League showdown against Sunderland

Norwich City manager Alex Neil refuted any suggestion his side wilted under the pressure. Picture by

Norwich City manager Alex Neil refuted any suggestion his side wilted under the pressure. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

'Rubbish' was Alex Neil's bullish reaction to accusations Norwich City wilted under the pressure of a Premier League relegation shoot-out against Sunderland.

The Canaries' abject 3-0 home defeat to Sam Allardyce's Black Cats means they no longer control their destiny, with Allardyce claiming in his post-match media duties his side clearly coped with the fraught occasion better than the hosts.

Neil, however, insisted the pressure did not get to his men.

'To say they handled the pressure better than us is a load of rubbish,' he said. 'They got the penalty, they scored it, and then they got a breakaway goal after we should have moved the ball a bit quicker. That was the difference in the game. I didn't think Sunderland looked more threatening than us. We had 14 corners, they had zero. We had more of the ball and you can go right through the statistics but the most important one is winning the game and we didn't. If you deem that as not handling the pressure I am not sure I agree.'

Neil was at pains to caution both Sunderland and a resurgent Newcastle have to cash in on their games in hand to suck Norwich into the relegation zone. City remain one point clear but both north-east clubs can go above Norwich with City not in action this weekend due to Watford's FA Cup semi-final involvement.

'I think the one thing we have to bear in mind is those two teams are still chasing us,' he said. 'We are still a point ahead of Sunderland and they have got to win them to make it count. That is not a given but we have to win games between now and the end of the season. If we don't, it won't be enough.

'We have four left, we have to win two of those, at least, to give ourselves a chance. I think momentum is a bit over-stated to be honest because there was plenty saying we had it going into this game. You have to take each game in isolation and win as many as you can. Simple as that.'

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