Alex Neil reveals a pep talk from Delia Smith after Norwich City’s 1-0 Championship defeat to Derby County

Norwich City keeper John Ruddy is unable to keep out Bradley Johnson's winner. Picture by Paul Chest

Norwich City keeper John Ruddy is unable to keep out Bradley Johnson's winner. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil insists Norwich City were short-changed in a fifth straight Championship 1-0 defeat at Derby County.

Bradley Johnson inflicted a painful loss on his old club, in a first meeting since he was sold in 2015, but Neil remains bullish he can haul City out of what he admits is a rut.

Neil was again asked about his job prospects at Carrow Road following the latest defeat but revealed he had already spoken to both majority shareholder Delia Smith and chief executive Jez Moxey since the final whistle.

'I have just seen Delia outside after the game and she has said, literally, keep going, keep fighting. Jez Moxey was there as well. They come down regularly and they know how hard I am trying and how hard the players are trying,' he said. 'All you can do is stick together.

'I have never been scared about my job. That will remain the case. It is for others to make that decision. The one thing I have never been is a quitter who will give up. The only time you are a failure is when you stop trying. I will give it my very best shot this week to prep for next week and I know the lads are determined and focused and trying to do their best.

'Is it a rut? I think you can call this a rut. When you are at Norwich in the Championship we expect to win games. We have not done that of late and it is really frustrating. Last week we went down to 10 men after 30 seconds. Here there was nothing in it. We have played worse than that and won games in my time here. Absolutely no questions on that. In football, it takes a lot to win games and sometimes you need a bit of fortune and it is not with us.'

Neil admitted the identity of Derby's match-winner Johnson was entirely in keeping with City's recent slide.

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'There was a lot of talk this week and people have tried to make out that me and Bradley did not get on, which is nonsense,' he said. 'Bradley, as a I said on numerous occasions, was a top player for us and 18 months ago we made the decision to take the money and re-invest in the squad. The simple fact is Bradley scored, good luck to him and I wish him all the best but we had our chances.'