Bad blood and birth certificates miss the point for Alex Neil ahead of Bournemouth test

Norwich City manager Alex Neil is focused on the bigger picture against Bournemouth. Picture by Paul

Norwich City manager Alex Neil is focused on the bigger picture against Bournemouth. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil brushed aside any sub-plots surrounding bad blood or birth certificates as he strives to get the better of Eddie Howe's Bournemouth.

The recent histories of both clubs appear to have become entwined, from Neil's first successful day at the office at Norwich City to promotion success and the recent public dance regarding Lewis Grabban's future.

Neil and Howe are also two of the new wave in Premier League management, but none of that has any relevance for the Scot at Carrow Road on Saturday.

'I'll be honest with you. I might be 34, but I don't feel it. The only time I ever think about my age and how young I am is when the media keep reminding me,' he said. 'Other than that I am here to do a job, I know what it entails and how to go about it and I will do it to the best of my ability. There is no bad blood as far as I am concerned. I wouldn't describe us as pals, I don't really know Eddie, he is Bournemouth manager, I am Norwich manager and we both want to go and win this game.

'There are no hard feelings between me and Eddie or the two clubs over anything that might have happened. The bottom line is football is a business.

'The way Eddie has constructed his team over a number of years, and I have done albeit over a shorter period of time, is similar in that the boys who have done well for you, you tend to stick with them unless you find someone who is significantly better.'

Neil knows City's defence must contain the likes of Callum Wilson and Cherries' new signing Glenn Murray as they plot a first Premier League home win of the season.

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'We have to make sure whoever plays we have plans to guard against them and their strengths. We have to be on our mettle,' he said. 'I think it's a case of three points at stake rather than worrying about the first home win. Regardless of whether we have won at home or not, we've only played two games and both clubs have already shown they can compete at this level.'

Norwich's tame offering at Southampton prior to the international break was an exception Neil is not keen to repeat.

'It was one of the first times since I had been here, and I have made the squad aware of this, when in that first 30 minutes we didn't compete well enough,' he said. 'I thought we lost a lot of second balls and we didn't do what we generally do which is to fight and scrap for every ball and every challenge. Then our retention of the ball wasn't anywhere near the standard we expect, so if you combine those two and give a decent team the ball back then it will ultimately cost you the game.'