Norwich City chief Alex Neil upbeat after West Ham friendly loss

Gary Hooper has been touted with a Norwich City exit. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Gary Hooper has been touted with a Norwich City exit. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil was far from downcast at the manner of Norwich City's 1-0 friendly defeat to Premier League rivals West Ham on Tuesday night on the club's 80th anniversary celebrations at Carrow Road.

Harry Toffolo's unfortunate own goal in the 82nd minute consigned City to a loss on their pre-season homecoming to mark the landmark switch to their present stadium.

Neil was adamant City were more than a match for the Europa League hopefuls for the first hour, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel spurning a clear chance to open the scoring when his right-footed finish clipped Adrian's trailing leg from close range.

'It was a good test,' said Neil. 'I felt for the lads who played most of the match it was good they got a good 60 minutes under their belt and then West Ham brought on what you would perhaps say are their regular starters to really push them.

'In terms of game fitness and playing when you are fatigued it was good for them. I think within the first hour we were probably the better side, well after the first 10 when we didn't use the ball well.'


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West Ham made nine changes in one second half hit, with Slaven Bilic protecting some of his frontline troops for Thursday's Europa League qualifier.

'We had opportunities and I was pleased but they brought the fresh legs on, changed the shape and we became a wee bit disjointed from there, which was disappointing,' said Neil. 'I thought we stuck to our task and in the end the difference was a deflected goal.

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'If you look at my team I have another 10 guys who can come in and probably eight of those were regular starters from last season. That is really encouraging for us. They played against Augsburg on Saturday and we have another game coming up this Saturday. We have got strength to come in.'

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