Stick with us urges Alex Neil to Norwich City’s fans
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is appealing to Norwich City fans to stick with his boys in the battle for Premier League survival.
Sections of the Canaries' support voiced their frustration during the first half of the 1-1 draw against a rampant Everton, before Wes Hoolahan's equaliser sparked a spirited fightback.
'I can understand the crowd's frustration because they want to see their team playing well but you are not going to do that every week at this level,' said the City boss, who saw his side drop into the bottom three after Newcastle's win at Tottenham. 'It is not as if we are playing against a poor team. Everton is a good team with good players but the one thing fans want to see is that hunger, determination and desire that they have for their club out there on the pitch.
'I felt they saw that in the second half. We have to show that every time we step on the pitch.'
Neil fielded the inevitable questions over why Norwich were again reliant on a second half response after a sluggish opening effort, in a clear parallel with Arsenal's previous Carrow Road league visit.
'I think Arsenal was different. In this game we set up to get up the pitch and get after the ball early,' said Neil. 'We simply didn't do it with any intensity and when we did get it we didn't move it quickly enough. It slowed our game down and it became predictable. I thought second half all that changed and the only think that did change was the players attacked the game. Tactically nothing changed, strategically nothing changed.
'You could ask every manager in the country the same question why their team does or doesn't perform. We have spoken about the inconsistency and that is where our issue lies.
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'Look at Arsenal, we got a really good point and could have won that game against a good side. Then we go to Watford, play poorly and we have a game here where one half is not acceptable and the second half is really good - in terms of how we played. I am just pleased we managed to get a result. If you had asked me at half-time I would have certainly taken a point because I think Everton would have been disappointed they didn't add to the scoreline.'
Norwich's charitable role in Everton first half opener was another all too familiar trait.
'If you look at it we make a square pass into the middle of the park, under no pressure, and then give it away and then on the corner we get it back and kick it straight to them, rather than clearing it up the line,' said Neil. 'We are the makers of our own downfall in terms of that goal and obviously Lukaku wins his header at the far post but there is two occasions where we put ourselves into trouble, in fact three, if you include conceding the corner.'
Neil's response to a no show at Watford seven days earlier was to make four changes to his starting line up, but the Scot was forced into two injury-related substitutions for Andre Wisdom and Hoolahan.
'Andre hurt his hamstring and that is why he came off at the break and I thought Ryan (Bennett) did well in the second half,' said Neil. 'Wes just signalled he had picked up a wee niggle so we will see where he is in the next few days.
'When you get a performance that isn't acceptable I think you have no alternative but to change it up to that degree within the group.'