‘Brilliant’ Alex Neil is just the tonic for Norwich City’s top brass

Norwich manager Alex Neil faced former England manager Sam Allardyce at Sunderland last season. Pict

Norwich manager Alex Neil faced former England manager Sam Allardyce at Sunderland last season. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil may owe his big break at Norwich City to David McNally but the Canaries' manager can count on the unstinting support of the club's board as he looks to guide City through choppy waters.

McNally's shock resignation proved an unwanted distraction for Neil ahead of Wednesday's pivotal Premier League game against Watford but chairman Ed Balls confirmed the Scot is key to the club's fight back on all fronts.

Neil was reassured by members of City's board it is business as usual following confirmation McNally's seven-year stint at Carrow Road had come to an end.

'From his point of view, he doesn't need the disruption clearly but Alex is 100pc committed to the future of Norwich City football club,' said Balls. 'I have been in touch with Alex and so have the directors and both Alex and the players need to focus on the games ahead. I have spoken to him numerous times and the directors had a discussion with him on Monday.

'Alex is a brilliant manager. He took us up last season, I am sure he, like us all, has learned lessons this season in the Premier League for the future but he is a massive talent. We have been clear to him all through these last few months that not only do we value what he has done since he arrived but we are looking forward to what he can achieve in the next year, but right now we have to focus on Watford. This is not over. The players absolutely are up for it, as is the manager. We need a cauldron at Carrow Road against Watford to give us a chance. The whole club is focused on this game.

'We are absolutely backing Alex and the team and the most important thing right now is Watford because we have still got a chance to turn this around.'

Balls revealed current director of finance Steve Stone had no hesitation in accepting the board's request to take over as interim chief executive, while they search for McNally's successor.

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'He provides some continuity and experience to deal with a change that has come around quite suddenly,' said Balls. 'It sends a signal internally and externally that we are going to build on our strengths. What we have to do now with Steve is that we start planning for the long term as well as make sure we focus on Watford.

'Steve is our finance director and he has been very important in making sure our finances are sound and he is known to the board. On Sunday one of the first tasks we had was to approach Steve to bring him in on an interim basis and he immediately said yes.'