Alex Neil savours a landmark Norwich City win in 4-1 Blackburn Championship romp
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil hailed Jacob Murphy's starring role in Norwich City's 4-1 Championship opening-day win against Blackburn at Ewood Park.
Murphy rewarded his manager's faith with a 25-yard rocket shot on his first league start for the club - setting the Canaries on their way to a first league win on the opening weekend of a season since 2002.
Wes Hoolahan, Cameron Jerome and Steven Naismith completed the rout with only a late consolation from Blackburn's Anthony Stokes denying the visitors a clean sheet.
'Fantastic for Jacob,' said Neil. 'He has earned that first league start as well. I took him off against Hannover last week and I had to solidify the midfield because we didn't perform as well we would have liked but I spoke to him all through this week and said, 'we are not fixing Hannover, we are preparing to beat Blackburn,' so that was two very different games. He responded great and it was a fantastic strike for him.
'I think before the game, having watched Newcastle on Friday night and everyone looking at how they are going to react, I thought everyone would be doing the same with both us and Aston Villa as the two other teams who came down. It was important we started well.
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'Someone said to me on Friday we hadn't won in 14 years or so on the opening day. We wanted to make sure we fixed that but also play in a manner that people are going to sit up and take notice of us and that we mean business this season. We did all that but this is only a start. We have 45 league games left and it is feet on the ground for next week.'
Rovers' counterpart Owen Coyle admitted the Canaries were far superior to his side.
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'I have got to be honest, it isn't one we wanted,' he said. 'We started the game on the front foot and then the lad scores a wonder goal. From our point of view we can effect the ball better - when he gets on the half-turn we must get pressure on the ball - but I am not sure he will score that many in his career as good as that. Norwich have so much quality.
'They were unfortunate to come out of the Premier League and they have punished us and been ruthless and clinical to punish every mistake we have made. You can't let players like Wes Hoolahan and Steven Naismith get on the turn because they are so talented at what they do. We need to get a tackle in and do whatever it takes.'