Norwich City look to turn the tables on West Brom

Kyle Lafferty was on target in Norwich City's 3-0 Capital One Cup win against West Brom. Picture by

Kyle Lafferty was on target in Norwich City's 3-0 Capital One Cup win against West Brom. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The ironic twist bringing a resolute West Brom to Carrow Road on Saturday is not lost on Alex Neil.

Norwich crashed to the heaviest defeat of Neil's managerial career at Newcastle on the same weekend Tony Pulis' squad carved out a fifth Premier League clean sheet in a 1-0 home win against Sunderland.

Pulis' uncompromising approach to his craft may not win many admirers, but Neil respects Albion's strengths.

'They probably have the opposite problem to us in they struggle to score goals but are relatively solid at the back and I am sure Tony will be trying to find that balance. We have the opposite dilemma,' he said. 'Like a lot of teams in this league they are comfortable not having the ball. That suits us. We would rather have it. They will sit in and make it extremely difficult for us and try to frustrate the fans and players and hope to hit us on the counter-attack by nicking a goal. I expect they will also be strong on set pieces.

'It is going to be a testing game and that first goal against these type of teams is absolutely crucial.'

Neil offered a revealing statistic yesterday to underline why City's encouraging start back in the big time had stalled recently.

'The problem we have is in the nine games we have played, we have conceded first on six occasions,' he said. 'At Newcastle we conceded first and we were chasing it. If you don't concede first it allows you to be more conservative and feel your way into the game. If you score first then you can sit back a touch and counter them. When you chase the game it becomes a question of how early do you do that? If you leave it too late then you might not get an opportunity to win the game.

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'If we get the first one it allows us to adjust and be a bit more compact.

'Winning is the most important thing. In most of the games we have performed relatively well, I am not taking Newcastle into account in that obviously, but I think we are at the stage where performance is important but winning more so. I have spoken to the players about it this week. There is no point playing well and coming away saying we lost or we were a bit unfortunate. We need wins on the board.'

The Scot has taken a corporate approach this week to ensure there is no repeat of the Tyneside goal rush.

'Generally when I go through the games with the players I put instances up on the screen and say where I think they should be on the pitch or what they have done or not done and then put it back to them,' he said. 'Do you agree with it? What are your thoughts? There is no hiding place because the feedback is there on the screen. I am dealing in facts not memory. The players are an honest bunch they are not happy with the way they defended.

'I think we were a bit unfortunate but in every goal there are usually three or four mini incidents where you can prevent things and we didn't do that well enough.'