Norwich City will not be intimidated at Sunderland, pledges Alex Neil
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Alex Neil is confident Norwich will not be intimidated by a Sunderland onslaught at the Stadium of Light.
Both clubs slipped to opening day defeats, although the positivity around the Canaries' display against Crystal Palace was in stark contrast to the Black Cats' weak offering at Leicester. Neil understands fully the psychology of an inevitable reaction from Dick Advocaat's squad in front of a demanding Wearside public.
'They will be up for it but we have our own agenda,' he said. 'We have to expect a bit of a backlash but go about it the same way as Crystal Palace; make sure we are on the front foot and look to imprint our style of the play. Every crowd is the same.
'If you are not performing they will soon let you know and that has to be our objective; to try and quieten the crowd, make them restless and not enjoying what they are seeing.
'If you look at the league, particularly last year, then you would say with the top eight or so when you play them you are still more than capable of winning but you have to work as a real unit and make it as difficult for them as you can.
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'Outside of that group, when you face a lot of the other clubs, it is really about going toe-to-toe with them and trying to beat them.
'In that respect Sunderland is perhaps seem as being among those clubs we have to compete against this season.'
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Neil is viewing Palace's streetwise win at Carrow Road last weekend as a painful reminder of the different landscape they now inhabit in the Premier League.
'Speaking to the players after the game to a man they all said that is the big league. We deserved something out of the game and one bit of quality or a mistake cost us,' he said. 'That is a good reminder so early in the season about staying concentrated every second at this level.
'I think sometimes when you watch games back you perhaps might change your opinion over certain aspects, but having watched it now two or three times it is exactly how I remember it on the day. It was still just as frustrating to see the amount of opportunities we didn't take and then for them to go up the park and punish us. The key things are when you play as well as we did, particularly in the first half, you have to take advantage of that domination. We conceded sloppy goals and we have been through those shortcomings with the lads. When there is such a thin line in the Premier League those are the moments that can go for or against you.'
Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome pushed their claims for greater involvement this weekend with second half cameos against the Eagles.
'I pick a team based on what I feel gives us the best opportunity to win the game and earn points,' said Neil. 'You just call it as you see it and who might make an impact in the game. Both were unfortunate not to start. Cam had not played in the two or three weeks prior to the game, which did not help his cause, and with Nathan we were trying to get him up to speed.'