Norwich City create unwanted history in 1-0 Premier League Swansea City defeat
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's 1-0 Premier League defeat at Swansea City was another lesson in ruthless efficiency.
The Canaries pounded away in the final quarter at the Liberty Stadium with the conviction of a side in freefall, after Gylfi Sigurdsson had punished them with the Swans' only real chance in open play.
Norwich equalled an unwanted post-war record, dating back to 1946, that has seen them now claim just one point from nine league games following another missed opportunity in Wales.
Neil, however, insisted the Canaries' inhibited display against the Swans was in marked contrast to recent top flight outings.
'I think you could say that here (about a lack of conviction) once we have conceded, but in the last two or three games you can't say that,' said Neil. 'We had four up the pitch at all times and arguably four of our most talented players and we counted on them to make us chances and create as many problems as we could. I thought both teams looked reasonably solid but they took their opportunity and we didn't.
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'When we needed to push and probe for the equaliser we did that. Patrick Bamford has three efforts at goal in half an hour and (Dieumerci) Mbokani a couple. Wes (Hoolahan) has one where he flings his leg at it in the six-yard box and doesn't hit it cleanly, Cameron (Jerome) had an opportunity in the first half and Nathan (Redmond) the best of the bunch. If that goes in the bottom corner it is 1-1, we are all happier with our work, and everybody goes home in a better frame of mind.'
Neil needs no reminding of his own side's limitations but the Norwich boss is convinced the Canaries have been short-changed since their last win against Southampton in early January.
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'That period over Christmas, when we won three out of four, we have played better recently than we did in that run,' he said. 'I have seen those games back since but the margins are so fine at Premier League level, whether it is taking a chance or making a tackle at a key moment.
'I don't think the overall performances merit the run of form we are currently on.
'It is difficult to put your finger on where we are going wrong, because we are in the games. I feel there are probably three or four occasions in the whole season we have been convincingly beaten and that has generally been against most of the top teams. We have lost by the odd goal probably in five out of the last eight or so games.
'I have an honest bunch of lads, they do try their best and in terms of the effort and endeavour levels, even though we didn't play our best in this game, they gave everything they have got.
'We are creating opportunities to score but we are not taking them and at vital times we are conceding goals. It is really tough to accept that.'