Alex Neil savours Norwich City’s ruthless edge in Bournemouth beating

Dieumerci Mbokani went close to a debut goal in Norwich City's 3-1 Premier League win over Bournemou

Dieumerci Mbokani went close to a debut goal in Norwich City's 3-1 Premier League win over Bournemouth. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City embarked on a new phase in their Premier League development for Alex Neil during a reassuring 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

Neil opted for the attacking instincts of recent loan signing Matt Jarvis and was rewarded with a bold, aggressive display at Carrow Road to overwhelm the Cherries.

Cameron Jerome's first half opener looked to be the first salvo in a very tight contest, before Wes Hoolahan's strike sparked a ferocious onslaught that deserved more than just Jarvis' debut goal prior to Steve Cook's late header.

'Maybe at times when we have had the ball we have been too predictable, even though we were creating chances,' said Neil. 'We didn't have someone who was really direct when the ball broke down and could go and hurt the opposition. We showed on numerous occasions in the second half we have that in the team now.

'I think in the Championship you can get away with not having that. Moving into the Premier League you must have pace to cut teams open, to be able to run in behind, and that was something I felt we needed to add to the group and we managed to do that in the window.

'You need that pace to be a counter-attacking team at times.'

Neil felt City's greater cutting edge was a key factor.

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'The first goal is crucial. Teams are so intelligent at this level if the opposition gets it then they can start to make life really difficult and hurt you on the counter-attack,' he said. 'That is tough then because what you need to do is make the pitch a lot bigger to get a goal back. We have had to do that this season, against (Crystal) Palace and got punished, and when Bournemouth tried to do it here we punished them. The Premier League really is cut-throat because the quality at the top-end can hurt you.

'If you look at both line ups it was credit to Bournemouth they came to win this game. They went with four real attacking players at the top end of the pitch, as did we, and I think that first initial breakthrough was going to be vital. We had had more pressure and moved the ball well up until that point, and probably merited the lead, but after that we got stronger and stronger and should have scored more than three.'

Neil could even afford the luxury of choosing between new signing Dieumerci Mbokani and free-scoring Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty for a late Carrow Road cameo.

'If I am being honest it is one of those situations when you have to make a call. They both could add something and the only unfortunate thing for me is that I couldn't put both of them on,' said Neil. 'They probably merited that.

'Dieumerci has just come in and looked good and Kyle has been performing extremely well for Northern Ireland. He was in the squad here and hopefully if he does well during the week he might get his opportunity. You never know.'

Mbokani spurned a late chance at the near post to open his account, but Cook's free header on another set piece was the final goalscoring act.

'I was more disappointed for my defenders than the fact we gave a goal away because I thought throughout the whole game they really limited a good team, who have created a lot of chances against very good opponents this season, to very little,' said Neil. 'They deserved a clean sheet for their efforts. We just switched off but there will be other opportunities for the clean sheet.'

Gary Hooper missed the win with a tweaked ankle ligament injury that Neil revealed could keep the striker out for 'a week or two'.