Alex Neil unveils Norwich City’s new Championship motto
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Get the job done any way you can is Norwich City's Championship motto for the business end of the season.
Alex Neil derived extra satisfaction from the manner of a hard-fought weekend win at Cardiff City and the Scot wants more of the same against Wigan.
'It won't be as direct or physical as Cardiff but over the course of a season, and we did it last time, you need to churn out eight or 10 games when it is not pretty but you think that was a great three points,' he said. 'I am talking about winning 1-0 or 2-1. Newcastle and Brighton have done that more than us. That is why Cardiff could be a catalyst. For us it is going to be difficult to catch the top two but in that regard it is not all that different from two years ago. First and foremost we have to get ourselves into the play-offs and then re-assess where we are with 10 games to go. I don't really look at the league table right now. I just want to win the next one and our sole focus is on that. If you don't do that then what is coming down the line doesn't matter.'
Much of the focus will centre on Yanic Wildschut's early return to Wigan but Neil has no fears a hostile reaction from the Latics' fans is likely to affect the Dutchman.
'He is 25, he knows what is coming,' said Neil. 'When you go back to your old club you are either the hero or the enemy. The lad got his move, things move on. He might get a wee bit of stick but then it is done. If he adapts quickly and takes things on board then it shouldn't take him long to hit the ground running with us. I thought there were glimpses of that at the weekend but it was a difficult game for wide players to get involved in.
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'Wigan have changed the way they play from earlier in the season. They don't take as many risks as in the past. Perhaps they are bit more direct as well. They are very aggressive in the way they press. They did it against Manchester United and Sheffield Wednesday recently and I watched that league game and thought they were really unfortunate not get something. They played well, had a lot of pressure and just struggled to convert any of their chances. If we take this lightly then it will come back to haunt us.'
Wildschut's compatriot, Mitchell Dijks, appeared to relish the physical nature of Championship combat against the Bluebirds.
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'The one thing about him is he is determined to play. He hasn't come here just to see how he does. He is desperate to get us to the Premier League and he wants to test himself at the highest level,' said Neil. 'He is one of those happy-go-lucky lads and that helps in terms of how he fits in with the group. It is well-documented how hard I tried to get him here. Having watched him at Ajax we hoped that quality and his characteristics would convert to the Championship and the signs were good at Cardiff.
'We have spoken about wanting to add a bit of physicality to the team and he is 6ft 4in. He won his tackles, he got up and down the pitch. The really pleasing thing for me was after about 60 minutes he had a bit of cramp. He hasn't played for a while with the winter break in Holland but he pretty much refused to come off the pitch. He took his gels, cracked on and got the job done. It shows mental strength as much as anything else. He'll be fine.'