‘Show me what you are made of’, Alex Neil urges his Norwich City squad
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is turning to his scrappers to get Norwich City out of Premier League trouble.
The Canaries have won one league game in 11 and slipped into the bottom three ahead of this weekend's trip to Manchester United, with Newcastle's dramatic stoppage time win at Tottenham.
City earned a 1-1 draw against Everton, but the Toffees' first half dominance at Carrow Road fuelled frustrations on and off the pitch.
'If you are going to be timid and crawl into your shell this is the wrong place for you,' said Neil. 'It is alright me shouting at the side of the pitch all the time, but you need guys on the pitch who are going to grab things by the scruff of the neck and lead and demand the most out of each and every player and I thought we had that in the second half. That was really pleasing. I said to them at half-time, 'Look, I am fine. Don't worry about me. We need to make sure you are fine and when you are out there on the pitch you are sticking your chest out, and attacking things and taking it in your stride. We were not playing well at that stage and when people were getting the ball they were looking for options and a few people were maybe not as open and as responsive as they should have been.'
Neil restored both Gary O'Neil and captain Russell Martin to his line-up in a bid to add some vital leadership to the ranks.
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'I felt we missed some leadership qualities at Watford and Russell added that when he came in. I think Gary added that,' said Neil. 'Good performances and winning games build belief. The question is what comes first? Sometimes you win when you don't play particularly well and you go away with a sense of belief. It is about making sure you do the right things and you are structured. Football is a simple game. When they have got it, you get it back. When you have it you create chances and in the first half (against Everton) we didn't do that well enough.'
Neil admits it is vital to build on City's Toffees' fightback ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.
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'I would hope that is a start for us. What we have to strive for is a good level of consistency and we need performances to back it up,' he said. 'They have the freedom to go out there and play. That has not been taken away. Of course confidence takes a hit if you are not winning as many games as you would like and certainly when you concede you know it is going to be a hard day.'