Can Norwich City come up with the right answer to Premier League relegation puzzle?

Norwich City manager Alex Neil must find the answer to the Canaries' conundrum. Picture by Paul Ches

Norwich City manager Alex Neil must find the answer to the Canaries' conundrum. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil knows Norwich City's Premier League survival fate hinges on finding the answer to the Canaries' own countdown conundrum.

City face West Brom this weekend at the start of a crucial phase in their relegation battle, with home games against Newcastle and Sunderland either side of a trip to toiling Crystal Palace.

Norwich proved again in the recent 0-0 draw against high rollers Manchester City they can mix it with the best, but have failed miserably at Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Swansea since the turn of the year.

'That is the big test for us and that will dictate if we stay in the league or not,' said Neil. 'I think we have shown it earlier in the season, in beating Bournemouth at home and Sunderland up there, that we are capable of doing it. It is about making sure we do it on the day. The key is getting a Manchester City-type performance in those games.

'I think there are different questions asked of you in those games. When you play the teams around about you the onus is on us to try and break them down.


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'What we need to do is strike a balance between being defensively solid and carrying a bit more of threat going forward. I don't think there are wholesale changes needed, it is just tweaking things here or there.'

Norwich's backs-to-the-wall shut out against Manchester City underlined once more Neil is prepared to do what it takes to keep the Canaries in the Premier League.

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'I am a bit of a football purist in that I like the ball to be on the ground, to make the game open and score goals but the problem I have got is we need to realise who we are playing against and realise when we are capable of doing that and when we are not,' he said. 'Against Liverpool we were 3-1 up and it was disappointing to lose that one and against City we didn't intentionally sit off the ball for long spells but with the quality and the movement they have got you do find yourself behind the ball. As a squad and a coaching staff we are still on a path and looking for the best solution.'

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