Mike Phelan insists his Norwich City role is not an old pals act

Norwich City manager Neil Adams and new first-team coach Mike Phelan share a joke before the Sky Bet

Norwich City manager Neil Adams and new first-team coach Mike Phelan share a joke before the Sky Bet Championship match with Reading at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City's first-team coach Mike Phelan will pull no punches with Neil Adams to spark the Canaries' Championship season.

Phelan insists straight-talking is the only route to getting City's campaign back on track after Reading inflicted a 2-1 defeat on his return to the club for a third spell.

'I am under no illusion what my job is here, the same as Neil, and if we disagree at times then I see that as a healthy relationship,' he said. 'Sometimes you can get too pally-pally with each other.

'It doesn't really work and you don't know where you need to go. We go a long way back. My first game for (Manchester) United when I left Norwich was a friendly against Oldham and Neil was playing then.

'We go back a long way, but it's a fresh meeting place for us and I quite like the dynamic of that. It's a totally different ball game to playing.

'We do know what we want and we are both singing from the same hymn sheet. It's about putting in a charge and that is possible with the quality of player we have here.'

Phelan has watched enough Championship football during his 18-month absence from the game to know Norwich can perform much better.

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'There isn't a big difference. A lot of clubs are striving to be the number one and get to the big league and we are no different,' he said.

'There are ups and downs in any season and every club at this level wants to be in the Premier League. You just have to deal with things and keep a level head. There is a disappointment from getting relegated, but we have to get back to basics.

'You have to be competitive. I know the Championship well enough to see that these things are never over. As long as you are not too far adrift there is always a chance.

'There are clubs above us who are not on good runs. It is just about picking up points when you can. This is a big club and the expectation is there.'