Russell Martin - Norwich City squad have responded to Alex Neil’s home truths
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Russell Martin is in no doubt Alex Neil has all the attributes to cast the same successful spell on Norwich City as Paul Lambert.
The Canaries' captain insists there is far more in common between the two men than just their Scotish heritage, with Neil striving to emulate Lambert's achievement in guiding the club to the Premier League.
'We're back to where we were when Paul Lambert was in charge,' said Martin. 'We needed someone to grab the place by the scruff of the neck. At first, because of where he came from and his age, some of the lads were maybe a bit cautious. But he has impressed everyone because he's a leader.
'For a few people there was a sense of: 'Who is this guy?' I'd be lying if I said there wasn't but that all went in the first meeting. I never judge anyone until I've met them and he made a big impression.
'He was just brutally honest. He had watched all the videos of the games and knew how we'd been playing. He just told us straight that we were good players but were underachieving. He also said a few other things which I can't repeat but he got his message across.
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'It was made clear that we had a few weeks to prove ourselves and that it would be up to us. Sometimes people don't want to hear things but honesty is the best policy.'
Martin, busy preparing for Scotland's Euro 2016 qualifier against whipping boys Gibraltar at Hampden Park tomorrow, has been impressed with Neil's impact since moving south from Hamilton.
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'He has changed the mentality of the place and brought a different attitude to the team,' he said. 'The gaffer pulls me aside at times, as the captain, to speak about things. It's clear he wants an open relationship with his skipper and I totally believe in the way he wants to play.
'He has taken my opinions on board and those of other senior players. It's good to know he's backing me as captain and wants to have standards. There is a real emphasis if we match teams for work rate, and effort and endeavour then we earn the right to bring our quality to the fore. For us, so far it has and the lads have really been impressed.
'Before, we were that desperate to score goals that perhaps left us more susceptible to the counter-attack. That is not taking anything away from Neil Adams who I felt did a great job but we were so keen to impose ourselves and dominate games we lost ones we shouldn't have or drew. He left us in seventh place and look at the other sides who came down and how they have struggled a lot more. Now we are dominating and winning. When we go forward we know there is a job to do defensively.'