Norwich City chief Alex Neil has his say over recent substitutions

Martin Olsson was a late introduction in Norwich City's 2-2 Premier League draw against West Ham. Pi

Martin Olsson was a late introduction in Norwich City's 2-2 Premier League draw against West Ham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil insists he has been a victim of circumstance at key stages of Norwich City's Premier League downturn.

Neil omitted Martin Olsson last weekend and then watched Robbie Brady retire with a calf injury which forced Russell Martin into a left-back switch.

'I thought Russell played well but I took a gamble at Swansea with not having Martin on the bench to give us another attacking option because I felt it was a game we needed to win,' said Neil. 'Robbie is a player I have never taken off, maybe once at Tottenham when he wasn't playing well, but in terms of injury he has been an ever-present. He is losing teeth and still staying on and the one game I don't put Martin on the bench he goes down with a calf.

'I don't know if anyone saw me at that stage but I was kicking the side of the dug-out because that is how things are at the moment. You have to take a risk and a gamble in this situation and you just hope it doesn't come back to bite you on the backside and it did. Sometimes in the past I have taken gambles and they have worked out for me and then you have people saying it is great foresight, its not, it is a bit of luck. Sometimes fortune falls in your favour.'

The Scot's substitutions have also come under scrutiny during the club's winless run which now stretches back to beating Southampton 1-0 in early January at Carrow Road.

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'In the last two, possibly three games, I have been looking to make substitutions and we have had players warming up,' he said. 'I tried to put Martin Olsson on before we conceded the first goal against West Ham. Then against Swansea the two strikers were warming up and they are warming up to go on, not because I want to watch them run up and down the side of the pitch.

'I already had in my head to get them on because we needed a goal and then we concede and I literally put them on 30 seconds later and it looks like a reaction, rather than something that was pre-planned.'

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