Norwich City wary of wounded Birmingham City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil insists Norwich City will not take Birmingham City lightly despite a wretched start to Gianfranco Zola's St Andrew's stint.
The Italian arrives at Carrow Road looking for a first win in eight game since replacing Gary Rowett. Neil, however, is looking beyond the headline figures.
'We have to make sure it is another week before he gets that victory,' said Neil. 'The one thing to bear in mind, having watched them, and I am not making any excuses because the onus is on us to win and we need to play well, but they have actually played pretty well. They have not been brushed aside. The only game they were beaten by more than one, I think, was the FA Cup away at Newcastle when they played a weakened team. It is going to be a difficult task because they are getting to grips with how Gianfranco wants them to play.'
Neil's squad were woeful in a 3-0 Championship battering in the corresponding fixture but Neil is confident they are better equipped now to handle the physicality of the second tier.
'They are a very different side and it will make for an attractive game of football,' he said. 'Before they were dogged, sat in their shape, were rigid and played on the counter. This team will be much more expansive. We didn't compete that day. It wasn't a good football game. It was fighting for second balls, winning tackles and headers. They got the better of us. I don't anticipate that will be the same but we showed against Wolves we can do that side and it was a big step forward. I know the lads are capable of doing it and it is a case of accepting at times this is the Championship. We were of the mindset that we could out-play teams but if you don't win battles you don't earn the right.'
The Scot chalks up 100 games in charge this afternoon.
'I am privileged and pleased I have been here for 100 games now,' he said. 'I think you could say it has been highs and lows. From Wembley to being relegated and some of the bad results this season. We have seen shoots of recovery and the home form suggests we are on the right path.'