Monday, May 29, 2017

We can compete with anyone – Neil

SoccerNews in English Premier League 20 Sep 2015

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Alex Neil credited Norwich City’s belief and togetherness after Russell Martin’s second-half equaliser earned them a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.

The result keeps Norwich level on points with Liverpool, and Neil felt their performance showed that the newly-promoted club can compete even in the intimidating atmospheres of the Premier League’s most famous grounds.

“The biggest thing about coming to this type of place is not what you do on the pitch,” said Neil.

“It’s how you take in the atmosphere, and whether you honestly believe that you’ve got a chance of winning the game.

“I said to them, I believed we could come here and do something, but the biggest thing is that they’ve got to believe it.

“I think we’re getting to that stage now, where we believe we’re a good team, and we can go and give pretty much anybody a game.”

Goalscorer Martin had rushed to Merseyside for the game after the birth of his son early on Sunday morning, and Neil said the commitment shown by his captain reflected the unity in his squad.

“I spoke to Russell and just made sure that he was ready for the game,” he said.

“I left it in his hands, really. He’s the captain of the club, and I just said to him: ‘Do you feel ready to play?’

“Russell knows how important the group is, and if he’d felt he wasn’t ready 100 per cent to contribute, then he wouldn’t have put himself forward.”

Neil opted to leave Wes Hoolahan on the bench, despite the midfielder’s impressive performance in Norwich’s 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth last weekend.

He explained the decision, saying: “I thought we needed workhorses in the middle that were going to cover a lot of ground and shut off angles, and if we had needed Wes’ creativity coming on towards the end of the game then I would have used it.

“But the pace on the flanks and how hard we worked in the middle to shut areas down was the whole game plan today, and it worked.”

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