Newcastle United test does not scare Alex Neil’s rampant Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil warns Newcastle United they will need to hit top gear to beat his resurgent Norwich City.
The Canaries crushed Nottingham Forest 5-1 to set up a heavyweight Championship showdown tomorrow at Carrow Road against the leaders.
Norwich lost a stoppage-time epic 4-3 in the north-east, but Neil insists City are a different animal now after extending their home run to one defeat in the last eight.
'Without doubt we will be a match for them. We beat them the last time they came here in the Premier League. We were 3-1 up at their place and deservedly so,' said Neil. 'We know it is going to be tough because they are a right good side but so are we and it is who plays well on the day.
'It is important we go on a good winning run. We have done it in the past. We did it the last time we went up so everyone knows we are more than capable. Being capable of doing it and actually doing it are two different things. The performances from two months ago are vastly different. If we can continue this momentum we would like to think we will be in the play-offs sooner rather than later and then we can re-adjust and have a look. Equally, if you don't win the next one it dissipates. I think there is a belief there and that allows us to try and fulfil our potential. We are confident and we do believe.'
Neil delivered a simple message to his troops ahead of the Forest win after closest play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday opened up a five-point gap the night before.
'That was part of what I said to the lads before they took the field – that we knew what had happened on Friday night. Our game is crucial,' he said. 'We knew we had to win and anything less was not acceptable. Let's make it happen was the message. It was a mindset we were in before and then lost our way. That is quite easy. What is not so easy to do is find your way again and we have managed to do that and that takes honesty, character and people taking responsibility.
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'I am delighted. We scored five, created numerous chances and we could have scored seven, eight, nine, 10. We carried a real threat at the top end of the pitch. We knew it was going to be a footballing type of game, hence why Alex Pritchard, Wes Hoolahan and Nelson Oliveira were all in the team. They did exactly what I hoped and expected, which was to create havoc going forward.'