Norwich City can fight fire with fire against Tottenham’s young guns
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City must produce their Premier League best to subdue Tottenham's young guns on Tuesday night at Carrow Road.
Alex Neil was hugely impressed by the likes of England hopefuls Dele Alli and Harry Kane during Spurs' 3-0 Boxing Day romp at White Hart Lane.
The Scot warns any repeat of the vulnerability City showed against Liverpool recently will be ruthlessly punished by Mauricio Pochettino's slick squad.
Kane scored a brace against the club he spent time on loan with before another homegrown youngster Tom Carroll completed an emphatic win.
'They are a good side with big, strong, powerful players, nearly everyone of them are six-foot plus and quick,' said Neil.
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'Athleticism is a big, big thing at this level. I felt at their place in the first 25 minutes we started really well, but we didn't respond to going behind. We got beat not because we played poorly, they were just a better side on the day.
'He (Pochettino) is prepared to give the young lads a chance, although it is not difficult to play them when they are scoring goals and winning games. It is a bit tougher when that isn't the case and when his loyalty would be tested. If you are talking about Dele Alli, when he is banging in goals every week it is not hard to stick with him, but they have that experience with pretty much internationals in every position.'
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Tottenham arrive at Carrow Road five points behind leaders Leicester City and firmly in the title race, according to Neil.
'I think the way this season is going I don't see why not,' he said. 'Tottenham is one of the best we have played. If anyone can put a run together consistently you never know and they have been really, really fortunate in that they have managed to keep their starting XI fit for the majority of the season.
'But we have only lost once in six at home in the league and the game we did lose was 5-4. It is not as if we have been trounced at home. This is a tough one but if we can approach it in a positive manner we can get something. This is the Premier League game. There is no easy games. When you play the teams in and about you the pressure is on because you are expecting to win and when you play the bigger teams you are playing against some top sides.'
Timm Klose and Alex Tettey are pushing for starts after missing out against Liverpool, with the Norwegian's combative style sorely missed in the late carnage against the Reds.
'Timm has been involved for the best part of two weeks in training now so he'll be fine,' said Neil. 'With Alex if you want someone to break up the game, where the main bulk of the job is to disrupt opposition attacks, then Alex certainly fits the bill better than most.
'He can play that disciplined number six role, where he is not one who will venture forward too much. We had two defensive midfielders in front of the back four against Liverpool and that got us to the stage we were winning 3-1 with (Graham) Dorrans and (Jonny) Howson. From that point onwards we just didn't do the things that had got us in that position in the first place.'