Mental scars is a cop out for Alex Neil in Norwich City’s Premier League survival battle

Sebastien Bassong and Wes Hoolahan were both part of the Norwich City squad relegated from the Premi

Sebastien Bassong and Wes Hoolahan were both part of the Norwich City squad relegated from the Premier League in 2013. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is backing his Norwich City squad to handle the mind games over a fraught Premier League relegation run-in.

The Canaries' host West Ham at Carrow Road this weekend striving to end a run of five league defeats that has sucked them into the bottom three.

City slumped to a 2-0 defeat at rock-bottom Aston Villa last time out, with seven of the squad on duty at Villa Park also part of the set-up relegated from the top flight in 2013.

Neil insists that is a statistical quirk rather than a worrying trend set to be repeated on his watch.

'If that is how fragile you are as a football player then you really have problems,' said Neil.


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'I think if you are playing at the top level in world football - the English Premier League is the most televised league in the world - if you want to stay in that you need a bit of bottle about you to go and do your job.

'Football is a simple game. People talk about the psychology of it, it is nonsense, you are football players, go and fight, go and work, go and do everything you can, go and try and score; when they have got it try and get it back.

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'I think people complicate football far too much at times and if you are that fragile and your confidence is hurt because you have lost a few games then you are in the wrong game.'

Neil brought eight new faces in during the January transfer window, with the likes of Steven Naismith already emerging as a key figure in the battles ahead.

'Naismith was in for two days and straight into the team. Patrick (Bamford) is another who you expect to settle in a lot quicker than the foreign lads. The domestic ones are much easier to handle in that respect,' said Neil. 'It is not a culture change for them. If you bring someone from Croatia or Germany their whole life is changing. They are not robots. They have other things going on outside of football and they have to adapt.'

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