Alex Neil wrestles with Norwich City tinkerman tag

Declan Rudd paid a high price for rushing from his line in Norwich City's 2-0 Premier League defeat

Declan Rudd paid a high price for rushing from his line in Norwich City's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Aston Villa. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil insists he is a reluctant tinkerman after another selection shuffle failed to pay off at Villa Park.

The Norwich City boss made four changes to the starting line-up from the midweek 3-0 mauling to Tottenham, but the visitors remained toothless up front and fragile at the back.

'If you are not winning, then something needs to change and if you are still not winning then it's tough,' he said. 'That is always the hardest part as a manager. People say you should make them do this and make them do that.

'What you are trying to do is get the best players into your team and entrust them to carry out your instructions within the game, in terms of shape. But ultimately whether they play well or don't play well is decided by decisions with and without the ball as the game goes on.

'The game is not a static thing where you can just move people. They have to make decisions for themselves and unfortunately at the moment we are making too many wrong ones and it is costing us goals.'


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Declan Rudd's decision to confront Gabby Agbonlahor at the edge of his box proved costly when the Villa striker guided his finish into the unguarded net. Neil was forced to field fresh questions in the aftermath about whether the time had come to restore the more experienced John Ruddy.

'He made an error for the second goal, it is one of those things but Declan found himself in the team because John was making errors so where do you go? You change and it works, you change and it doesn't work, you can't win,' said Neil. 'I don't think he had to come out that far. That is pretty standard if you look at it and I don't think Declan would feel I am doing him a disservice there. That is what happens when you are down that bottom end. People make mistakes at vital times in games. You just have to suck it up and fight even more.'

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