Norwich

Alex Neil; show some balls, Norwich City can’t go down without a fight.
9th February 2016

I don’t remember seeing many Norwich City teams being good at defending, not in recent seasons at least.

What I do remember; however, is Norwich City teams being good at attacking.

One Scottish manager’s team in particular were rather good at that, as City marched to successive promotions before holding their own in the Premier League, sticking to their guns and doing things their way.

Then came Chris Hughton. It wasn’t all bad; it’d be unfair to say that, but I always remember saying to myself, ‘If we’re going to go down, let’s attack, let’s give it a go!’

We never really did. It was one of the first real times I felt myself falling out of love with football.

30 August 2015 - Barclays Premier League - Southampton v Norwich City - Alex Neil, Manager of Norwich City - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Norwich City’s 2-0 defeat to rock-bottom Aston Villa on Saturday saw Alex Neil’s Canaries slip into the Premier League’s bottom three.

When Alex Neil arrived; I never thought I’d be saying to myself, ‘If we’re going to go down, let’s attack, let’s give it a go’, but low and behold, here we are!

If Norwich City are going to be relegated; and at present you’d probably be an unwise man to bet against that, but if it is to happen, let’s do it our way.

His players need to show some balls, but Neil needs to show some balls too. Newcastle [United] away really was a turning point of a bad sort for our season. I remember reading Neil’s comments after the game and they sounded like a man with his confidence dented.

That day rattled his cage. Since then, City just haven’t quite been the same. As hard as it was to watch, it was a freak result. Newcastle had six shots on target. Scored all six. Norwich could have scored just as many.

The fact is, this Norwich team aren’t very good at defending. I didn’t think it last season, and I definitely don’t think it this time around. They need to sharpen up at the back, but they should not be doing that at the expense of what they’re good at.

High pressure. On the front foot. Getting in people’s faces. We’re not good at sitting back and trying to break. We’re especially going to struggle with that when we’re playing without any noticeable pace and also playing players out of position.

When you see the team pre-match, sometimes you’re left thinking, ‘Get in, I love the look of that!’ And others you’re feeling like I did Saturday. From the look of our side, there was no secret as to how Norwich were going to approach things.

The defeat to Liverpool had nothing to do with defensive vulnerabilities, that was defensive incompetence after a superb display for an hour. That hour is how I want Norwich City playing football. That hour is how I believe Neil wants Norwich City playing football.

If we’re going to go down, that’s how I want us to be playing. The team we lined up with was far closer to what I believe is our best eleven, than the eleven we put out on Saturday.

We’re in a dogfight. We’re only heading one way. But, if we get back to our way; if we get back to what we’re good at, then not only will I be able to hold my head high if we do get relegated, but I also believe we’ll give ourselves a much better chance of staying up anyway.

It’s not a terminal situation, not whatsoever. There’s plenty of games left to collect points from. Having said that, you can’t brush off a lacklustre defeat to bottom of the league Aston Villa. This has to be a wake-up call for Norwich City, we have to get back to doing what we’re good at and it has to start on Saturday. No question. No excuses.

I believe in Alex Neil, as do many others. We know what sort of a manager he is. It’s time for him to trust himself, to trust his ways and scrap whatever it is we’re trying to be right now.

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