Embrace the fear and enjoy the ride Alex Neil tells his Norwich City players ahead of Sunderland clash

Alex Neil knows the stakes are high in Saturday's Premier League showdown against Sunderland at Carr

Alex Neil knows the stakes are high in Saturday's Premier League showdown against Sunderland at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil would love to swap places with his Norwich City players in Saturday's epic Premier League relegation clash against Sunderland.

The 34-year-old hung up his boots when he took charge of the Canaries but a pivotal clash in the survival stakes is the type of occasion he is envious of his troops.

'Go and enjoy it, go and win the game will be the last thing I tell them,' said Neil. 'It is about enjoying it and I have said that to the players this week. This is why you play football. That is why I played football. We're ready. We have played in a lot of high-pressure games and we have come through. You have to relish this occasion. It's why I am involved in football.

'Sometimes that fear can cripple you as a player but it certainly won't do that with my lads. Whenever you go into a big game like this people look to you for strength or reassurance or calmness and in these type of circumstances I am always calm. I always know how we will approach it. The difficulty supporters or the media have is that you can't impact anything. I can and so can my players and we know the background work that has gone in that no-one sees.

'That is where my confidence and reassurance comes from. I get my confidence from looking at them.'

Neil is demanding an extra push from another boisterous Carrow Road home crowd, who were treated to a nerve-jangling stoppage time win against a fellow top flight relegation rival Newcastle Untied last time out.

'I think it is crucial. The fans were great in the last game, we played well, we scored some goals and of course the manner we won was a roller-coaster,' he said. Providing you come out the right end we would be well pleased with the same results. The home games are huge.'

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