Norwich City chief Alex Neil demands a play-off final encore after dealing with Ipswich
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Greed is good in Alex Neil's book, as the Norwich City boss strives to top an East Anglian play-off success by reaching the Premier League at Wembley.
The Canaries inflicted a third derby defeat on Ipswich this season after a 4-2 aggregate semi-final victory that hinged on Christophe Berra's red card in Saturday's 3-1 second leg win at Carrow Road.
Wes Hoolahan slotted the penalty, following Berra's handball offence to keep out Nathan Redmond's goalbound shot, but Tommy Smith levelled for the 10-man visitors before Redmond and Cameron Jerome put Neil's troops out of sight and set up a showdown with Middlesbrough on May 25.
'I am really proud of the players, after last season's relegation, to build up a head of steam to give us that momentum to finish the season strongly,' said Neil. 'To beat your local rivals is the cherry on top of the cake but we want to top that next week. For me in my career, this is right up there, right up there. Obviously I was successful last year with Hamilton, getting us up into the Scottish Premier League, and to get to Wembley is a serious achievement.
'It is hard to say if this is my biggest win. I don't put one over another. I have had a lot of good experiences over a short period of time. However that is all done now and my attention turns to the next one.'
Neil was convinced his side would prevail, despite another tense opening 45 minutes against Ipswich.
'I think you could sense the fans were a bit agitated in that first half but the message to the players was keep calm, don't listen to the supporters, if I am being honest, and just focus on the bigger picture,' he said. 'I could sense frustration in the players as well but I knew the game would settle down and we would have the quality on the pitch to make the difference and create chances. I am delighted for the players, because everybody always tells us before every game what a good squad we are and we are favourites, but you have to go and prove it.'