Norwich City stand-in boss Alan Irvine was not going to tinker with Alex Neil’s best-laid plans

Interim Norwich City manager Alan Irvine admitted Mitchell Dijks could have few complaints over his

Interim Norwich City manager Alan Irvine admitted Mitchell Dijks could have few complaints over his red card. Picture: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd

Alan Irvine insisted it would have been unprofessional to alter Alex Neil's line up against Blackburn.

The Canaries' interim manager revealed it was Neil's starting XI and subs who went into battle against Rovers 24 hours after his dismissal.

'It would have been totally wrong and totally unprofessional of me, even if I had wanted to make changes, to do that,' said Irvine, who made it clear after the game he will not apply for the role. 'We had a group of players who went home after training knowing they were playing. Can you imagine if I had changed that? By the time I got the phone call, the team had been named, the work had been done on the training ground and actually we had already decided on the subs as a coaching staff. They were the group who did our preparation against the U23s. They knew the gameplan. Unfortunately the gameplan got torn up after 20 minutes.'

Irvine had no complaints with Mitchell Dijks' first-half red card for an ugly challenge on Marvin Emnes.

'It was a red card,' he said. 'The only thing I would say is Marvin Emnes handled, in my opinion, prior to the tackle. Had the free kick been given the tackle does not get made. Was it malicious from Mitchell's point of view? No, it was one of those where he tries to put his foot over the ball to take it away and he has caught Emnes. He has misjudged it, mis-timed it. It is definitely a red card. You cannot complain about that.

'I thought we looked like we would win the game, prior to the sending off. We got the goal, we looked a real threat going forward. The sending off, especially so early, made it very difficult. We had to be solid and resilient and have a very, very good shape defensively. You are looking to counter from that shape and at times we did that well. You take Ivo (Pinto's) one, which hits the post, and that can suddenly put us out of sight. With a man down, to a team with lots of confidence and unbeaten in four, it is going to be difficult and there were times we had to dig in.'

Irvine expects to remain in charge for this weekend's game against Barnsley.

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'What my role is in the future is not in my hands. I may still be at the club in the same capacity, or a different one or I could be away,' he said. 'This is a great club. I made a decision to move 250 miles away from home in the eagerness to get back to the Premier League.'