Norwich City fail their screen test for Alex Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil wants no repeat of Norwich City's limp offering against Southampton when the Canaries resume their Premier League quest.
The Scot faces an uncomfortable fortnight over the international break before trying to set the record straight against Bournemouth at Carrow Road after a rare low point at St Mary's in his successful tenure.
Neil managed to galvanise an under-performing squad when he replaced Neil Adams and plot a memorable Wembley promotion triumph after narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to the Premier League, which perhaps explained why the Canaries' boss is prepared to forgive but not forget a below-par display on the south-coast after a bright start back in the big time.
'I will give the lads the benefit of the doubt and put it down to a bad day and hope the next game we can make up for that,' he said. 'What is difficult to accept is when they don't reach the high standards they are capable of.
'I won't be expecting it to be repeated. We were on television and we have not given a good account. The players will be feeling a bit of pain and hopefully we can use that.'
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Neil took few positives from a performance at odds with his spell in charge.
'Over the course of the match we didn't deserve to take anything so I can I have no complaints,' he said. 'The way we conceded in the first half, when it is 0-0 with about a minute to go to half-time and we mess about with it down in our left-back area, lose possession and it ends in a goal, which really costs us because if we go in at 0-0 the second half we have something to hang onto and can hopefully hit them on the counter. For the first 15 minutes of the second half we worked hard and tried to fill holes but then when they get that second one it cost us.'
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Neil is confident there will be no lasting hangover from Norwich's off day on the south-coast.
'When you lose a game you feel the pain for a couple of days and then it turns into making sure we are ready and we are a lot better for the next game,' he said. 'We'll quickly move on. The one thing we have to learn is the start wasn't good enough and given the levels we had reached up to this game if we don't hit them, and we certainly didn't here, then it is going to be a tough ask. We need to be at the top end of our scale, make better decisions and use of the ball better.'