‘We were not looking for a scapegoat,’ Norwich City chief Alex Neil on the dressing room spat at Brighton
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Russell Martin's brutally honest post-match Brighton verdict was nothing Alex Neil had not already told his under-performing players in the sanctuary of the away dressing room.
Martin's admission some in the Norwich ranks had 'given up' stoked an inquest which has raged for most of the build-up to Leeds United's Championship visit.
'I think when he used those words that came from me,' said Neil. ''Gave up' is a strong phrase but emotions are running high immediately after the game. What I want from my group is an honest, open environment where if things need to be said they are said. It is about dealing with the issue, then once it is said and done we can crack on. If it doesn't get said it can linger and frustration can fester.
'No-one is happy with how things panned out. That boils over into a bit of frustration. It is normal practice when results like that come along, and it is not very often. There has to be some sort of fallout of it. We didn't apply ourselves or went about our work with any purpose.'
Neil, however, rejects the implication Martin's words exposed divisions in the City squad.
'I don't understand the thing about cliques and problems in the dressing room,' he said. 'It wasn't labelled at one or two, it was a general criticism. We were not looking for a scapegoat. We win and lose as a unit and in those final 30 minutes, when the going got tough, we had no purpose to our work. I am in the changing room and I know there are no issues.
'People will read too much into it and surmise their own conclusions but they were not there. I think it is quite refreshing to have that honesty rather than sweeping it up under the carpet.'