Norwich City chief Alex Neil is not feeling the heat from an epic Championship promotion scrap
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Alex Neil has brushed off the growing pressure ahead of Easter Monday's Championship tussle against Sheffield Wednesday by urging his Norwich City players to grasp the chance of Premier League football.
The Canaries host the Owls at Carrow Road in third place, two points behind leaders Middlesbrough and one point behind Bournemouth in the battle for automatic promotion.
Neil acknowledges his club is embroiled in the tightest race for the Premier League in many a season, but backs City to prevail over the final run-in.
'If you are a player with a few games to go and you can't get yourself motivated to get into the Premier League then you have some issues,' he said. 'I don't feel a great deal of pressure if I am honest. There is expectation from the fans and the players but I know what my job is, I know what I am trying to do and I am doing it to the best of my ability. There is not much more I can do. The guys just have to produce what they are capable of and if they do then we should have no worries.
'It is really just a case now a lot of time, particularly the big games, of calming people down rather than motivating them. I think that is a huge tool in the middle of a season but now it is about keeping them relatively calm, showing cool heads and focus.'
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Neil expects the Owls to prove just as obdurate as Brighton at the start of a key Easter spell after a tough 1-0 Good Friday win on the south-coast.
'It is not all about coming up against teams who will let you play expansive football, we will play sides who are tough to break down and they are very similar in that respect,' he said. 'I have said in the past we have played well but not won and right now that is no use to us.
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'It is the closest Championship for years because no-one has really grasped it. It is extremely exciting but you want to make sure when there is two or three games to go you are still vying for it. That is when its crunch time.'