‘People may want to create this idea me and the players do not get on. It is all rubbish.’
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's losing streak is forcing Alex Neil to deflect some uncomfortable lines of enquiry. Notable among them that too many of his players have now given up on the Scot and his methods.
Russell Martin's brutal post-match interview following that hammering at Brighton, when he effectively accused team mates of giving up, merely fanned the sense this is not simply a blip.
'I would like to think the players are playing for me,' said Neil. 'People may want to create this idea me and the players do not get on. It is all rubbish. You don't sign Alex Tettey, Graham Dorrans, Wes Hoolahan and Cameron Jerome last summer if they didn't want to be here. Jacob (Murphy) is another one. He has been rewarded with a four-and-a-half year contract. If you are not enjoying your football, if you don't want to be here you don't sign that deal.
'Anyone could watch training with me every day of the week and go, 'those three have done great', and I would say, 'you are right, they are playing this weekend'. It is not a difficult thing. What you don't do is see someone who is brilliant every single day at training and sit them in the stand. That makes no sense.
'Like anything else, confidence comes with wins. If I go and ask any player on a losing run if they are feeling good they are not going to answer, 'yes,' because they want to be successful. There is a responsibility on them because it is a privilege to pull on the Norwich jersey and they should deem it as such. I think they appreciate that and they will fight tooth and nail for each other.'
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Murphy is leading the youth brigade's assault on the first team this season but Neil dismisses any suggestion he has been reluctant to promote fresh blood during the current league rut.
'People have got short memories. This is the most young players who have broken into Norwich's first team for probably the last decade,' he said. 'Jacob and Josh, Sergi Canos, Louis Thompson, Ben Godfrey have all played and been involved. Carlton Morris and Ray Grant have been on the bench. Alex Pritchard is another one. For people to suggest we don't believe in young players and we are not giving them a chance is wrong. Josh has come off the bench, Louis Thompson started but was then unfortunately injured, so that is three who have been involved in this run of poor results. When you go through a difficult period you go back to basics and you also rely on experience.'
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