Lick your wounds and come out fighting, urges Norwich City boss Alex Neil, ahead of Ipswich Town tussle
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Cut out the stupid mistakes, warned Alex Neil, or risk a Championship derby defeat to bitter rivals Ipswich Town.
Neil admitted the manner of Norwich City’s 2-1 loss at lowly Burton stung but they have to hit back in Sunday’s epic tussle at Carrow Road. The Canaries are unbeaten in the past seven meetings and need a victory to bridge a seven-point gap to sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls also have a game in hand after cashing in on City’s latest awayday misery with a 2-1 league win at Nottingham Forest.
“We now have a week to prepare and an opportunity to get some of the injured players back but it will probably take a couple of days to get this one out of the system,” said Neil. “That is one beneficial thing. We need a reaction as a group. I am frustrated because I thought we had got over making silly errors, because we have played some really good teams lately and played really well. No disrespect to Burton but they are fighting for their lives. They are scrapping and biting and fighting and if you match that then there is no question that pound for pound we have better players. But you only have better players if they apply themselves and do what they should be doing in the game.
“For me, we lacked that in areas of the pitch where you think, ‘just clear the ball, mop it up, win your header, pick up the second balls’. Really, really simple things.”
Neil was without a number of key figures on a growing casualty list.
“I am not going to hide behind excuses about injuries. The team who took the field was good enough to win. They didn’t. The injuries don’t help us but it is not the reason we lost,” he said. “It doesn’t help in terms of selection to not be able to call on the likes of Steven Naismith and Youssouf Mulumbu away from home who make us more robust, more physical.
“These type of games we struggle with. I have said that before. I don’t know if there is an arrogance about us, if we are too confident, but equally I thought the boys competed. Burton didn’t win more battles than us. We just made stupid mistakes in stupid areas of the pitch at stupid times in the game. At 2-1 in the second half I have my centre back and my keeper playing ‘pass the parcel’ in our own penalty box. That typified some of the decision-making.”
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