Norwich City boss Alex Neil reveals Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United were the inspiration for Leicester City tactical switch

Norwich City's defence kept a tight rein on Leicester City dangerman Jamie Vardy. Picture by Paul Ch

Norwich City's defence kept a tight rein on Leicester City dangerman Jamie Vardy. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Louis van Gaal may reportedly be on borrowed time at Manchester United but the Red Devils were Alex Neil's inspiration for his tactical set-up at Leicester City.

The Canaries' chief revived the defensive three formation, with wing-backs, that almost earned a shock point at Manchester City prior to Christmas in a late 2-1 defeat. There was an uncanny echo at the King Power stadium, both in the final result and the performance, with Leicester's dangermen largely subdued until the closing minutes.

'We more than matched them. Our shape was excellent,' said Neil. 'Leicester cause teams a lot of problems because they are dynamic and direct and get after sides. We deployed three centre backs with Russell Martin sweeping up and that limited any real threat they had.

'I always look at how other teams adapt to opponents and Manchester United were the only ones to set-up that way. I watched that game at Leicester and it was 1-1 but they should have won. I reflected on that and felt if we deployed the same it could work for us.

'Look at the likes of (Jamie) Vardy, (Riyad) Mahrez, (N'Golo) Kante, a lot of their good boys were extremely quiet. We were happy with how we kept them at bay but you have to turn that dominance into wins and points.'

Claudio Ranieri went for broke with the second half introductions of match-winner Leonardo Ulloa and Jeffrey Schlupp, but Neil opted to keep Dieumerci Mbokani and Patrick Bamford in reserve until stoppage time.

'I thought the pace of Cameron (Jerome) and Nathan (Redmond) caused them problems and when they went three at the back we put Matt Jarvis on to make sure we tried to pin (Marc) Albrighton back and stretch them,' said Neil.

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'Matt has a great chance on the break when he is one-on-one with Wes Morgan but doesn't really go on and cause them a problem. I think the way we set-up with three centre backs and pace at the top end is what brought us our success, and someone like Mbokani isn't going to offer that to us and Patrick I am not convinced is going to lead the line and win flick ons and hold the ball in as well as Cameron.'