Do you want some? Norwich City in no mood to take a backward step in the Premier League survival stakes

Norwich City's Steven Naismith fends off Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba. Picture by Paul Chestert

Norwich City's Steven Naismith fends off Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Anyone who still thinks Norwich City are a soft touch is deluded insisted Alex Neil after the Canaries' staged a stirring comeback to sink Newcastle 3-2 in their Premier League relegation shoot-out.

Martin Olsson pounced deep into stoppage time after Aleksandar Mitrovic had twice pegged back the home side in an epic second half, following goals from Timm Klose and Dieumerci Mbokani.

Norwich have now collected seven points from the last nine to haul themselves clear of the bottom three and underline they mean business in a fraught survival scrap.

'Maybe in seasons gone by Norwich have been looked at as having a soft underbelly,' said Neil. 'I don't think we have anything like a soft underbelly. We are fighting tooth and nail for every single point and we will never give in until the final minute. I know it is easy to say after the game but I had been saying that when we were losing games; about our spirit and how much we want it and are prepared to fight, and the last three games have given some backing to that view.'

Mbokani typified that spirit with a marauding display capped by a ferocious strike after a build-up dominated by the on-loan frontman's unforeseen involvement in the recent Brussels terrorist atrocities.

'His goal was magnificent and to be honest I thought his performance was magnificent,' said Neil. 'He led the line, I thought he bullied the two centre-backs and he has been really special for us in the last two games.

'When I spoke to him during the week I stressed whatever goes on in your personal life away from the field you always have football to fall back on. That is a release so just go out and enjoy the game, play, do what you do and I thought he was great. To be honest I thought on Dieu's goal you couldn't defend that, he just shifted it inside and put it in the top corner.'

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Mbokani's intervention proved a key moment just minutes after Mitrovic had cancelled out Klose's first-half header.

'To get back in front so quickly at 1-1 was vital. It is strange how often that can happen – when a side scores they are vulnerable,' said Neil. 'Maybe there is a lack of concentration or they are pushing forward to get the next one. We took the lead twice and I felt deservedly so. I felt we were the better side throughout.

'We merited our lead at the break as well. The Newcastle fans were holding onto the ball on the free-kick and I turned around to our bench and said, 'This would be a good time to score', and big Timm pops up with a header.'

Neil could afford to be generous in his verdict on Newcastle's late penalty, after Gary O'Neil handled Ayoze Perez's flick.

'I didn't know what it was initially given for (the penalty) when Gary went towards the ball. I presumed it was a handball but I didn't see it clearly. It looked soft to me. If I am honest it doesn't matter.'

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