Norwich City manager Alex Neil urged his players not to “play with fear” before their 2-0 win over Middlesbrough, which secured a spot in next season’s Premier League.
Neil was thrilled to have avoided letting the people down who appointed him as manager in January, after leading Norwich from seventh to third in the Championship and then through the play-offs.
After defeating local rivals Ipswich Town 4-2 on aggregate, Norwich overcame Middlesbrough at Wembley on Monday thanks to goals from Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond.
“The players were determined, they were focused and they were ready,” Neil said.
“I told them that the worst thing that the worst that could possibly happen would be that you’re scared and you play with fear.
“I felt with the quality we’ve got, and if we made sure the occasion didn’t get to us, then we’d manage to do the job. Thankfully that was the case.
“I always believed if they done enough, then they would have been good enough.”
From the start of October, Norwich won just four of 15 Championship fixtures before the club sacked previous manager Neil Adams.
With Neil in charge, Norwich claimed 10 victories in their next 15 league games, losing just twice, to surge into promotion contention.
“If I’m honest I’m more pleased for everybody else than I am for myself,” the 33-year-old manager said.
“The players, the fans and [majority shareholders] Delia Smith [and] Michael Wynn Jones, and [CEO] David McNally, who appointed me and had the bravery to do that.
“One thing that drives me is making sure that I don’t let these kinds of people down. I’m more pleased for them than I am for myself.
“I had a job to do and I’m just pleased that I managed to do it.
“It was great, honestly absolutely unbelievable.”
Norwich return to the Premier League after just one season in England’s second-tier.
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