Norwich City new boy Robbie Brady is a class act for Alex Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Robbie Brady's shackling job on Stoke's £12m club record signing Xherdan Shaqiri left Alex Neil purring.
Jack Butland may have earned most of the headlines for a series of second half stops but it was Shaqiri who had dominated the build up ahead of his Potters' debut. Neil, however, preferred to press Brady's claims for the top billing.
Shaqiri's free kick, after the Dubliner was penalised for using an arm to cut out a crossfield pass, did nudge Stoke in front, but the Swiss international then spent a large part of his Carrow Road bow stuck in reverse gear as Brady poured forward at will.
'I thought he was fantastic,' said Neil. 'He can play left back or left midfield and I felt he dealt with the boy Shaqiri pretty much the full game and also caused them problems going the other way. Some of the deliveries he put in were great and he has been fantastic since he came here. Obviously, Butland will get a lot of credit and he was good, but so were my 11 players. There are always key incidents in any game that make the difference and he was involved in three or four of them.'
Neil resisted the urge to throw on the likes of Lewis Grabban or Gary Hooper in search of a late winner with the Canaries dominant.
'I think at that stage, because we were on top and creating chances sometimes to put another striker on means changing the shape and that might mean you lose that dominance in the centre of the park,' he said. 'Then what happens is the second striker ends up running back towards his own goal. That makes no great sense.
'We put Gary (O'Neil) on because I felt Jonny Howson had run himself into the ground and we needed another good midfield player in there. Gary fitted the ball.'
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Neil insists the goals will come for Norwich but the City boss wants to cut out the defensive lapses, after conceding from a second consecutive set piece.
'That comes from individuals not doing their jobs properly,' he said. 'To be honest it is just an individual mistake. I have looked at it already on the video after the game and it is a case we have guys who are detailed to mark a man and one didn't and it cost us a goal.
'The difficulty you have as a manager is that really it does come down to individuals in a game situation. The guys who are marking their men have to do the task properly and ultimately if that continues and it is the same culprit then he will pay the consequences.'
• Neil and his first team squad will hold a public training session at Carrow Road on Monday. Gates open at 11:30am, with entry priced at £2 per person.
All proceeds go directly to the Community Sports Foundation's Sporting Light Appeal.