Time to deliver the knock-out blow in Norwich City’s Premier League survival fight

Norwich City manager Alex Neil consults his backroom staff. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City manager Alex Neil consults his backroom staff. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil is challenging his boys to deliver a knock-out blow in the Premier League survival scrap.

The Canaries have moved four points clear of the bottom three, ahead of Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace, following a three-game unbeaten run.

Norwich edged out relegation rivals Newcastle in a Carrow Road epic last weekend and Neil is adamant City have what it takes to hold their nerve down the final stretch.

'At this stage it is who can handle the occasion. There have not been many games where we have not had something to play for here,' he said. 'We've shown we can handle the nerves. It starts to crank up now and between here and the end of the season it only gets bigger. For us, if we can get our work done early and our wins in as quickly as possible you want to try and alleviate the pressure on those games right at the end. The last thing you really want to do is going into the last couple needing points to stay up.'

City's last-gasp win over Newcastle has cranked up the pressure on both the Magpies and Sunderland, who visit Carrow Road next weekend, but Neil is wary of writing off Rafa Benitez's club.

Premier League title favourites Leicester were bottom at this stage 12 months ago before hauling themselves to safety.

'I think it would be fair to say there is more pressure on Newcastle than on Norwich. If you asked most pundits they would have said Newcastle have enough to stay up, but I'm not so sure about Norwich,' said Neil. 'That really doesn't mean anything, it just makes us more focused to stay in the league. With the amount of games left they need to put a really good run of wins together. I don't think there is any question about that.

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'They have some quality players, no doubt, it is a hard one. Are they capable? You look at Leicester last season, so it is possible. It would take a brave man to decide how it is going to pan out now at this stage because there is a lot of football still to be played.'