Transfer distractions are over for Norwich City’s players, now Alex Neil wants results
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Focusing on the football will provide welcome respite for Norwich City manager Alex Neil – and he hopes it will also benefit his players.
Weeks of speculation were brought to an end during an international break which left Neil to stew on an infuriating 3-0 defeat at Birmingham City.
He may not have signed the second striker of the window that he wanted but the Scot did hang on to some of his prized assets.
Now he wants to see his squad to start proving their talent, regardless of whether they had hoped for a move, starting today against Cardiff at Carrow Road.
'If you look at the players they've now only got the job at hand to focus on,' Neil said.
'All the outside noise, whether it be the press, the agent, their wife or kids or whatever the case may be that is applying pressure, I think that all goes away now.
'The window is shut and we focus on our plans because whatever their plans or hopes or dreams or whatever for themselves, all that accumulates in us having to do well, individually and collectively.
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'So regardless of whether they wanted to move, or go to a higher level or another team, or they want to stay here and get us into the Premier League, all that coincides with us doing well.
'So for the common goal everybody's got to pull in one way and make sure we're all fighting and doing as well as we can – and to be fair the lads have been great, so there's no issues with that.
'But certainly that window closing puts all that other rubbish to bed.'
Among the City players linked with a move was star centre-back Timm Klose, who revealed during the two-week break that his international coach with Switzerland had urged him to get back into top-flight football.
'Timm's fine, I had a good conversation with Timm,' Neil added. 'Timm wants to stay at Norwich, he's happy here, he wants to try and help us get back into the Premier League.
'It's a good job his coach has got nothing to do with Norwich, so I'm not really bothered what his coach says.'
Neil is 'hoping' that striker Cameron Jerome will recover from the leg injury which saw him miss the Birmingham flop and said that new signing Nelson Oliveira is not quite fully fit.
Cardiff, however, arrive with their new striker Rickie Lambert looking to make an impression, with the former Southampton and Liverpool centre-forward signing from West Brom late in the transfer window.
'I think he's capable, he's done it in the past but it remains to be seen whether he's going to do that for Cardiff, I'm not quite sure,' Neil said of the 34-year-old's threat.
'He's not had a whole lot of game-time between pre-season and now so I'd imagine he won't be fully up to speed, but he's certainly a threat.
'He's got goals in him, he's done that over the course of his career and if he does play we're going to have to keep him quiet.
'Cardiff, they'll play a three, or a five, whichever way you want to look at it at the back, and we need to make sure that we're capable of breaking them down without leaving ourselves exposed at the back and that's pretty much going to be the key in the game for us. I think the first goal is absolutely crucial and I think if we can get that, we can go and implement our style of play on them.'
Neil confirmed former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh is now unlikely to join on a free transfer, after picking up an injury in a trial game for West Brom.
Instead he is focussing on two home games, with Wigan to follow Cardiff on Tuesday, adding: 'I think everybody knows we're in the promotion race but at the end of the day we've got to pick up the points to prove that's the case.'