Norwich City braced for West Brom barrage
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Tony Pulis' football philosophy may be an acquired taste for many but Alex Neil is wary of West Brom's capacity to dent Norwich City's Premier League survival bid.
Pulis is well on course to maintain his unblemished record of never being relegated in a long managerial career that began at Bournemouth in 1992.
Albion ground out a 1-0 win at Carrow Road in the corresponding league fixture earlier this season and Neil is braced for more attrition at the Hawthorns.
'You couldn't get two different games than playing Manchester City one week to West Brom. We will need to adapt,' he said. 'They score 43pc of their goals from set pieces, which tells you defensively you have to be big and strong and prepared to defend your box. They get a lot of numbers behind the ball as well so it is about coming up with a system to impact on that. I have never picked a team solely based on size but that is not something I think you can afford to rule out in this match.
'If you look at the last team we put out (against Manchester City) we had three big markers and then the next two were probably 5ft 10, 5ft 11 in height.
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'Tony made his name at Stoke and has his way of playing. It is effective and it does what it says on the tin so fair play to him. Everybody has got their own style and if that is how he wants to approach it then fair enough. You have to respect that.'
Neil is looking to add the cutting edge to defensive soundness that underpinned a hard-fought point against Manuel Pellegrini's men.
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'We have been searching for that right balance all season. To get the clean sheet is important and we need to make sure we carry a threat at the other end but keep that solidity at the back,' he said. 'If we could go with a free-flowing approach at this level and score goals and perhaps not have to focus as much on the defensive side that would suit me. You look at the amount of goals we scored last season and generally my teams try to be offensive. I wouldn't say we don't worry about the opposition but last year we felt we could cause them more problems. That is a lot tougher to do in the Premier League.
'We have gone into games and gone at teams and a lot of the time we have found ourselves on the wrong end of the result.
'I have watched quite a few West Brom games, not just the league game here, and how they have set up against a variety of opposition and hopefully they are lessons learned for us.'