Seb Bassong gets Alex Neil’s backing to step it up at Norwich City

Sebastien Bassong was back in the Norwich City line up for the first time since April 2014 at Birmin

Sebastien Bassong was back in the Norwich City line up for the first time since April 2014 at Birmingham City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Seb Bassong will only get better for his long-awaited Norwich City return, insists Alex Neil.

Neil deployed the centre-back alongside captain Russell Martin at St Andrew's for his first senior outing since April 2014 and the final match of Chris Hughton's Premier League spell at Carrow Road.

Bassong was deemed surplus to requirements under Hughton's successor, Neil Adams, and spent time on loan at Championship rivals Watford, but Neil is prepared to offer him a fresh start.

'I thought he did well. He had obviously not played in a few weeks and looked a wee bit rusty at times but over the piece I was happy with his performance, as I was with the rest of the defence,' he said. 'It wasn't just down to Seb.

'The whole back four and Alex Tettey in front of them were solid and the lads at the top end defended from the front as well. Birmingham didn't cause us any issues apart from when we gave the ball away once when big John made a good save.'

Neil revealed much of City's preparation had been spent trying to cut out the cheap concessions.

'It was something I had to make sure we stopped because I think we have goals in the team,' he said. 'That was something we had worked on all week to make sure we were nice and solid and also being able to move the ball and retain possession. I think when you get to the top end you need a wee bit more quickness and tempo in your play and we probably didn't have that as much as we liked, but a clean sheet is a good, solid foundation. I think they should they take a lot of confidence from the way we defended.

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'I was delighted with that but you can't trade one for the other. You have to get a balance and that is what I am in the process of doing.'