Timm Klose injury blow must not damage Norwich City’s Premier League survival charge
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is confident Timm Klose's knee injury will not wreck Norwich City's Premier League survival bid.
The Canaries did themselves no favours on the pitch in a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, sealed by Jason Puncheon's cool finish, but the sight of Klose leaving Selhurst Park on crutches carried far greater ramifications for their top flight battle.
The Swiss international jarred his left knee in an awkward challenge with Dwight Gayle in the closing moments of the opening period and departed on a stretcher, after abandoning an initial attempt to return to the pitch following treatment.
Neil faces an anxious wait over the coming days before getting the results of a full assessment from Norwich's medical staff, although Klose used his social media account after the game to pledge he is desperate to return as soon as possible for City's fraught run-in.
'I don't think you should read anything too much into the fact he went off on the stretcher,' said Neil. 'He walked off and back on again. He'll be assessed early part of the week and we will see where he can go from there.
'It was a blow during the game for us because him and Ryan (Bennett) have built up a good relationship.'
Seb Bassong replaced Klose prior to the interval and Norwich were still firmly in a tense contest until Puncheon's 68th minute goal.
'From a defensive point of view we had a chance to stop it earlier. They played a couple of one, twos and we didn't get tight enough,' said Neil. 'The disappointing thing is we know he is left-footed so get out and show him the other side and make him shift it onto his weaker foot, which we had spoken about before the game.
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We didn't do enough offensively either. The best chance we had was Ryan Bennett missing a header six yards out, which people probably won't remember. I thought both teams looked hesitant. Take the first five minutes of the game and Andre Wisdom hesitates rather than going to head the ball clear, Klose miscues one that goes in the stands.
'Both teams went a bit too direct. They were hitting it up to Gayle, which I don't think is ideal for them, and to be honest when we have got Dieu (Mbokani) in the team we have a tendency to over-hit the ball long towards him rather than play what is on. We need to get that balance a bit better.'
Neil was more concerned with his own side's deficiencies than another Palace hard luck story involving the officials, following on from Cameron Jerome's disallowed goal on the opening weekend, when Matt Jarvis appeared to be shoved inside the area by Damien Delaney.
'I feel more aggrieved at the fact I didn't think either side did enough to win the game,' said Neil. 'I asked Matt at half-time and he was adamant he had got to the ball first and it was a penalty. From where I was he was running away from me so it was tough to see. I wasn't jumping up and down about it at the time but from speaking to Matt it seems like it was.
'Sometimes you get a tight decision like that but in the magnitude of this game the referee has to be 100pc spot on. The easier option is not to give it.'