High stakes tussle for Norwich City in Premier League showdown at Swansea City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City must embrace the high stakes nature of today's Premier League test at Swansea City.
Alex Neil conceded victory for the Swans would leave the Canaries' narrowing their focus towards the north-east in the battle to avoid joining seemingly doomed Aston Villa in the Championship.
Norwich can ease their own relegation fears, however, by completing a first Premier League double of the season at the Welsh side's expense.
'To be honest they are all must-wins between now and the end of the season,' he said. 'We are at a stage where we need to get points on the board. It is a big game, I think if the gap goes to nine then it is not perhaps Swansea we are looking at but Newcastle and Sunderland. The onus is on us to win the game. A point would be a better result for Swansea obviously but this game is not us directly against Swansea, in the sense of catching them up, it is really making sure we finish above three other teams. It doesn't matter who they are.'
Neil's men frustrated the Swans at Carrow Road before Jonny Howson pounced from a late corner, but with Garry Monk departed the Scot detects a marked shift in outlook.
'They have certainly changed the shape and quite a few of the personnel. (Bafetimbi) Gomis and guys like that were starting more regularly at the start of the season,' he said. 'Looking at the team we played here before Christmas that had guys like (Jefferson) Montero and (Jonjo) Shelvey, who is no longer there so it will be a different game. Angel Rangel and (Leon) Britton have come in and the team is quite different. We have to make it about us. Our approach of late has been to try and take the game to the opposition and it has boded well for us. I don't think we want to change that much.'
Norwich's bid to pick up a first Premier League win since January 2 will be backed by a sizeable travelling contingent who have taken up the club's offer of subsidised travel and admission.
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'The fans have been great, for the poor run we have been on of late I think they have stuck with me, they have stuck with the players,' he said. 'I think because the effort the boys have put in the fans can recognise all they can ask is these lads do their best and I think they have.
'I am the first to criticise these players if I feel they are selling us short but I can't be critical of them for the last two or three matches, because they are putting their bodies and everything else on the line and through poor finishing or poor decision-making we have been robbed of points. If they continue to do that then I know the fans will stick with us, and I thought in the second half against Chelsea they really rallied and backed the team and we appreciate that and we are going to need it this weekend.'