Norwich City’s squad know Alex Neil is ready to twist again

Norwich City bid to end a three-game losing run when they head to Everton on Capital One Cup busines

Norwich City bid to end a three-game losing run when they head to Everton on Capital One Cup business. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil has warned Norwich City's under-performing players he will keep on tinkering to get the right formula.

Neil restored Ryan Bennett to his central defence against West Brom and switched Russell Martin to full-back with Steven Whittaker and Martin Olsson paying the price for a humiliating defeat at Newcastle.

The Baggies' may inflicted more pain on Neil's squad but the Scot is not afraid to keep on testing the depth of his playing pool ahead of Tuesday's Capital One Cup trip to Everton.

'Ryan came in after not featuring for a while so there are definitely places up for grabs. That is not a secret and the squad are fully aware of that,' said Neil. 'I have had settled teams pretty much since I arrived at Norwich. The only reason we have made some personnel changes in the last few games is because they haven't performed well enough, we have conceded too many goals and it is unfair that I persevere with the same players if they are not doing their jobs correctly.'

Neil does not subscribe to the theory a Goodison Park outing is an unwanted distraction in his bid to turn around the club's Premier League fortunes.

City have a miserable cup record in modern times and reaching a first quarter-final since 1996 is less of a pressing concern to Neil than preparing for the daunting challenge of an upcoming league test at Manchester City. The Scot, however, can see the positive benefits of a one-off Goodison Park assignment.

'The league is our bread and butter. That is the most important thing for us this year. We want to do well in the cup but if you are prioritising then the league is more important. Obviously in recent weeks, in terms of performances, certainly results, haven't been as good as we would hope or expect so some of the other lads will get an opportunity to stake a claim and we'll see what happens from there.

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'I don't think it will be wholesale changes because that is not fair on the lads who come in. There'll be a few and I'll give guys an opportunity who have trained well and deserve a chance.'

Everton have their own questions to answer at present after taking just one point from the last three Premier League games.

'I certainly don't read a huge amount into statistics like that. I think they can be misleading,' said Neil. 'Our possession has been really good in the last few games, but for whatever reason we have scored fewer goals compared to when we had less possession and scored more earlier in the season.'

The City chief is an admirer of Roberto Martinez's work but is confident Norwich can progress.

'Martinez is an expansive manager in the mould of Brendan Rodgers or Garry Monk. They are all quite similar, all gone through Swansea and I like how they play, but it is about us,' he said. 'We have shown we are more than capable of competing. The only thing that has changed is our levels have dropped and we need to pick them up again.'

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