Show them how good you are, is Alex Neil’s challenge to his Norwich City squad

Norwich City defender Ivo Pinto scored his first goal in senior football in a hard-fought 3-1 Champi

Norwich City defender Ivo Pinto scored his first goal in senior football in a hard-fought 3-1 Championship win over Burton. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is urging Norwich City to embrace the pressure that comes with a Championship promotion charge.

Rotherham may fall into the same category as Wigan and Cardiff City as Carrow Road tests the Canaries need to pass with relative ease, but City have only fleetingly displayed a ruthless edge in front of their own fans so far this season.

'There should be that expectancy,' said Neil. 'Especially at home. I have an expectancy, so do the players. I don't deem that as a negative, provided we go about it in the right way because that expectancy can manifest itself as fear and that can cripple you. You become scared of making a mistake or going on and winning the game. We have expectancy on us because people think we are good. That is a good thing. Let's show them they are right. I am comfortable with it and so are my players.

'Take Burton, we had a lot of chances. If we had taken them we score five or six goals. What happens is we don't take them, and I mean clear chances, and then it turns into a difficult game with a one or two goal margin. Cardiff was another. That could have been out of sight and it ends up being 3-2. The game flips and people walk away thinking it was tough, rather than we were dominant.

'It is about getting back into the swing of how we do things after the break. We had a good session on Thursday and I had to stop it to tell them, 'Well done', rather than, 'This is what you should be doing'.'

Neil or his players are not fooled by Rotherham's lowly league status under Alan Stubbs, who opted to leave Scottish FA Cup winners Hibernian in the summer to head south.

'Hibs is a big club, but maybe Alan felt he had proved himself there and coming down to England was the bigger challenge,' said Neil. 'Taking a club like Rotherham in the Championship is a tough job. Fair play to him to have the bravery to do it. Rotherham for me is in a false position, in terms of results. I believe they deserve more from the performances they have put in. Huddersfield and Newcastle only beat them by one-goal margins before the international break so it will be hard.

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'They are direct, they put it up to the boy (Danny) Ward and work around him. They want to play in the opposition half, they are energetic, they work really hard and they pick up second balls. They have definitely got attributes you have to deal with and we have to match them in those areas. I went to watch them against Nottingham Forest and they were the better side in the first half before Forest grew into after the break.'

Neil knows how critical Norwich's next phase of Championship combat may prove in the bigger promotion picture.

'Between this period and the turn of the year we have to make sure we are in the top three or four places, because New Year onwards dictates whether you are going to get promoted,' he said. 'We have given ourselves a good start, now we have to make sure we are in and about it.

'The squad will come into its own now. Without a doubt. You can just feel the climate has changed, we are out on the grass the last week or two and it feels colder and for whatever reason, and it will happen to every club, you seem to pick up more knocks, suffer more niggles and suspensions. This is the time when it kicks in and when your squad strength is going to tell.'