How badly do you want Premier League football? Alex Neil’s stark warning to his Norwich City players
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil has done his best, now he wants Norwich City's players to prove they belong in the Premier League.
The Canaries' survival prospects suffered a major blow in a 3-0 Carrow Road defeat to relegation rivals Sunderland that leaves them relying on slip ups over the run-in from both the Black Cats and Newcastle.
Norwich face a frustrating fortnight without a game before a daunting trip to Arsenal but Neil is not going to spend the time rallying his troops.
'You can get them organised, get them motivated and then it is up to them to go and do their job,' he said. 'The bottom line is when you are a player, and I was for 12 or 13 years, I never came off thinking the manager made me play well if I had a good game. It was all down to me.
'It is hard to quantify how much of an influence you can have over the group. I can shout at them. I can be calm when I need to be. The players are fully aware of my expectations. We know we have a lot of hard work to do.
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'Listen, it is not just about the experienced players standing up, we are all in this together. We are still up for the fight, we are one point ahead of Sunderland and it is all to play for. It is not a case of giving up. If we are going to do it, it is going to be long and hard but you have to stick in there.'
Neil's Sunderland selections inevitably came in for scrutiny after the defeat, with Matt Jarvis preferred to Nathan Redmond in the starting line up and Robbie Brady substituted at the interval, but the Scot insists every member of his squad has a part to play whether they are on the pitch or not.
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'Perhaps at this stage of the season compared to others it is easier to get that across to the lads who are not involved as often because the games are so important,' he said. 'The players are selfless and they look for the greater good of what is suited to the team.'