Lessons of the past can shape Norwich City’s Championship future

Michael McGovern gets an early chance to stake a claim to be Norwich City's number one. Picture by S

Michael McGovern gets an early chance to stake a claim to be Norwich City's number one. Picture by Sean Dempsey/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Sean Dempsey/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is no history buff but the Norwich City boss is drawing on the Canaries' last tilt at the Championship to put their mixed league start in context.

City were scintillating at Blackburn but subdued against Sheffield Wednesday on home soil, and Neil wants a swift response on Tuesday at Bristol City's expense.

'We were frustrated at not playing well but we have to get to the realisation, and quickly, that we are not going to turn up every week and roll teams over,' he said. 'The last time in the Championship we had tough games, tight affairs, some we won, others we drew and the odd one we lost. We didn't lose the Wednesday game. We didn't play well but it is another point gained.

'Performance, first and foremost, is what you want to build from, because more often than not the results will follow with the quality we have got. We played Derby the last time we went up and deserved to win but drew the game 1-1 and we got a point, which is the same as what we got not playing well against Sheffield Wednesday. Sitting with four points from two games, I would say we are doing okay.

'Compared to the other two who came down we have more points than both of them and if you average two points per game over the course of the season it generally gets you promoted.'

Neil expects Lee Johnson's confident side – yet to drop a point this season – to offer a different test to the well-drilled Owls.

'I wouldn't look at league positions after a couple of games because it doesn't have any relevance. If we start talking about that after 15 games then you can say a team has had a good start,' he said.

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'They have won two league games late on, they haven't turned over teams by three or four goals apiece. They have the boy (Tammy) Abraham from Chelsea who is only a young lad but a handful, and the lad (Jonathan) Kodjia who did well for them last season. They will be relatively direct, the two strikers work the channels, the midfield is industrious with the experience of players like Gary O'Neil and they will be difficult to beat. They will flood the middle areas and look to pick up second balls but it is about what we do.

'This is not an easy league. If your attitude and ability is not right you are going to find it difficult. Since we were last in it I think more teams have got a variation to the tactics and shape. That is a step forward. You have a lot of lads managing now who have Premier League experience, people like Garry Monk and Nigel Pearson.'

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