Alex Neil’s ‘mea culpa’ in Norwich City’s Newcastle United hammering
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil admitted he got a big call wrong in sacrificing Alex Tettey for Wes Hoolahan during Norwich City's sour 6-2 Premier League mauling at Newcastle United.
Neil's adventurous streak backfired as Steve McClaren's Magpies inflicted the heaviest defeat of his Carrow Road tenure to clinch Newcastle's first league win of the season. Tettey was substituted with City looking to get back on level terms, but two goals in three minutes shortly after Hoolahan's arrival sealed the Canaries' fate.
'In hindsight that was the wrong decision,' said Neil. 'I am always the type of manager who will go with my attacking instinct and try to win a game rather than not concede goals and keeping it tight. I made a decision to take Alex Tettey off because we were losing and we needed a goal at that stage and that made us more vulnerable at the back and we conceded more goals as a result of that.
'It is a bit of a lesson for everyone connected with the club and I include myself in that. Maybe I have to try and suppress that attacking instinct at times but it has served me well since I have started managing teams and there have been occasions since I came to Norwich when it has got us back into games and we have gone on to win in the past. I just need to try and pick the bones out of it. I'll take responsibility for that, but I think the players know that they're going to have to take responsibility for the fact that as a group they didn't defend anywhere near well enough.'
Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum inflicted major punishment on the Canaries in a four-goal salvo with Dieumerci Mbokani's second in two Norwich games and England Under-21 starlet Nathan Redmond replying.
'He scored goals but he didn't run the game or anything like that,' said Neil. 'I felt it was a really open match and both teams looked a threat.
'We'll bounce back. At the end of the day it is three points we have lost. It's not as if it is anything more than that.'
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Neil will work overtime to get the balance right in his side's approach after Newcastle and Leicester, prior to the international break, both profited from devastating counters.
'It has been an issue for us most of the season, in terms of offensively we have looked okay and threatening and scored a few goals, but we need to get the balance right and be more difficult to beat,' he said. 'You can look at this game and Leicester and say we have conceded goals on the counter-attack but that is two individual games for me. You couldn't say that prior to those.
'It has only really been the last two and in this one we threw caution to the wind a touch and left ourselves exposed at the back. There has to be times when you defend better in a one versus one situation and we didn't do that well enough. There were countless times we broke on Newcastle and they had similar situations and the ball didn't end up in their net. We looked disjointed in spells because the game was spread so much and we had so many players up the pitch. With the pace they had on the counter-attack, that really caused us some issues.'