Norwich City’s Alex Neil savours the biggest win of his career after plotting Manchester United’s downfall
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is no history buff but the Norwich City manager could savour a special day in the life of the Canaries after a 2-1 Premier League victory at Manchester United.
Neil guided his former club Hamilton to a first win at Scottish giants Celtic since 1938, but the 34-year-old conceded he may have topped that at Old Trafford.
Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey sealed a first win at the Theatre of Dreams for 26 years to stun Louis van Gaal's expensively-assembled squad, who could only muster a second half reply from £36m striker Anthony Martial.
'Is it the biggest win of my career? Arguably. If you look at the gulf between the two sides, the size of club and the resources Manchester United have you could possibly say that,' said Neil. 'But I have always thought when you go on the pitch it is 11 versus 11 and we just have to try and do what we can. We will always take our strength from the team collectively, whereas the bigger teams have got individuals who and win games on their own. We have to work as a group to overcome that.
'You can see what it meant to the players and the fans at the end because we don't want to be down near the bottom end of the table. For the first 10 or 11 games we played good stuff and we were better than some of those teams we played, in terms of our performance, but that doesn't put points on the board.
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'This was crucial for us. Many a team have come and sat behind the ball and been done four or five, but we limited them to only a few chances.'
Neil saluted Norwich City's Yellow Army after delivering an early Christmas present with an historic first-ever Premier League win at Manchester United.
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'For me and the players there is nothing better than to send them home happy after some of the hardships we have had to endure, like Watford. All credit to them, they deserve this,' he said. 'Football fans in general, certainly in Norwich, we get very high or very lose. If we get beat then all of a sudden we are the worst team ever and if we win a game it can get a bit euphoric. To be fair, that is the pleasure of being a fan. I will enjoy my Christmas now as well.'
Norwich started the game languishing in the bottom three but the anxiety confined to the home fans, who berated United chief Louis van Gaal at the final whistle.
'We want to get as far away as we can from that position in the table and the only way to do so is to win games,' said Neil. 'This was always going to be tough season in that respect. The fact we have not got as many points as we would have liked is a worry, not the fact we were in the bottom three. Regardless of whether it is Manchester United or anywhere else, the home crowd always wants you to entertain. You can sense that in every stadium. We have that at our place if we are not fully flowing and on top.'