Alex Neil - Youssouf Mulumbu’s star is on the rise at Norwich City

Youssouf Mulumbu had his best Norwich City game against Aston Villa for Alex Neil. Picture by Paul C

Youssouf Mulumbu had his best Norwich City game against Aston Villa for Alex Neil. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Youssouf Mulumbu's Norwich City career is ready for lift-off.

Alex Neil hailed the combative midfielder's display in Tuesday's 1-0 Championship win over Aston Villa as his best in a City shirt. The 29-year-old also impressed at Barnsley to suggest he is finally clear of the injuries which have dogged him since leaving West Brom in 2015.

'His performances to this point have never been what I know he is capable of,' said Neil. 'At Barnsley he was superb and Villa was his best performance he has had for Norwich. All credit to him. He has had a few lay-offs with injuries and he has never really got started and when I do try to get him up-to-speed he has not quite reached the levels we know he can. He had nothing more to give (against Villa) which is why he had to come off. We said to both him and Jacob (Murphy) at half-time just go and give us everything you have got and then we have two other guys who will come in and give us the same.'

Mulumbu was part of an experienced line up against the Villans, minus Josh Murphy and Alex Pritchard who were left out of the squad after starting at Oakwell.

'I don't want anybody thinking we put those lads out because of Barnsley. They know that isn't the case because I speak to them regularly,' said Neil. 'I just thought the way things had went for us you needed the experience of men who knew what the script was. Villa was not going to be a game for younger lads finding their way. It was going to be a scrap, we had to be strong, physical and stand up to that.'

City's squad will now look forward to Huddersfield's televised visit on Friday.

'Football changes so quickly. We were sitting top of the league around the Fulham game and then six games later everything is falling down around me,' said Neil. 'Now it feels a bit better but it is only a step in the right direction. We have to continue it on Friday and the lads know that. They are hungry and determined. They felt they let themselves down at Barnsley, and I took my responsibility for part of that because my line up was a contributory factor, but they responded well.'

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