Norwich City boss Alex Neil unveils his Premier League battleplan
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is urging Norwich City's players and fans to strap themselves in for an epic Championship promotion shoot-out.
The Canaries moved within a point of top spot with a 4-1 win at Millwall, yet remained in fifth place ahead of another crucial Carrow Road clash this weekend against rivals Derby.
Neil has set his sights on completing the job by finishing in the top two and an automatic Premier League return, in what is shaping up to be a breathless finale to the season.
'I wouldn't put the word 'failure' next to it if we finish in the play-offs – the one thing I will say is that I would be disappointed with the squad we have and the run we are on not to finish in the top two,' he said. 'There is no reason we can't continue to put in these type of performances.
'Derby is a huge game, but we have 10 of them left and every other team in the top six at the moment will be saying exactly the same.
'You will get plenty of these type of games now because we are really in the shop window. I am fully aware, and so are the players, and we are fighting tooth and nail to get to the top end of the table.
'It is all to play for. I thought the other results probably went for us again, but we are doing our part. If you can pick up real momentum now there is always a team who comes from outside the pack.'
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Neil has guided City to seven wins in the last eight matches and the Championship's reigning manager-of-the-month is warning there must be no let-up to clinch a top-flight return.
'There needs to be an air of realism. Ultimately it's only a good start and we have to continue,' he said. 'If we lose our next three games we can find ourselves out of the play-offs, that is how competitive it is at the top end.
'I think the first thing you do when you look to take over a new club is assess the scope there is to push on and if the infrastructure is there. It is fantastic, and it is ready to go back into the Premier League.
'The squad is probably ready to go back into the Premier League so it is just a case of making sure I get them functioning to the maximum and they are good lads, there are no issues with them and they know exactly where they stand with me, so there are no excuses now.'