Alex Neil is a man with a plan at Norwich City
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Forget systems and formations the only measure Alex Neil insists you should judge his Norwich City this season is winning football and entertainment.
City wrap up their pre-season preparations on Saturday at home to German club Hannover 96 before the real business commences at Blackburn.
Much was made of the Canaries’ struggle to find a productive identity in the Premier League but Neil knows exactly what he wants for the Championship fightback.
“I have a clear way how I want us to play,” he said. “I think the players enjoy doing that at this level I believe we have the lads who can do that. It then becomes really simple. I would like to think we can dominate possession in most games, if we can play to our strengths, and then it is about have we the quality, the touch the vision the passing to open up teams and hopefully play some good football. I don’t just want us to win but I want to play attractive football that people want to come and be entertained.
“I have used different tactics in the past. I started out as a two up front and a diamond then I changed to a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. It is basically to suit the players you have got. Sometimes you look at it and you think I can’t leave that player out so you have to adapt the system but that is not the real issue for me.”
Neil admits he has most of his starting line up for next week’s Championship opener at Ewood Park already pencilled in.
Northern Ireland international Michael McGovern made his first Norwich appearance in the midweek 3-0 friendly cruise against Coventry City, when a number of the club’s emerging talent delivered a timely reminder to Neil.
“You see someone like Michael and what he can offer,” said Neil. “He is a steady pair of hands. He showed that in the Euros and I had him for the best part of a year and he did great for me and he got player-of-the-season up there last year.
“A lot of those lads have been here last season, in terms of the Murphys, Louis Thompson, Harry Toffolo, Carlton Morris, Ben Godfrey. All that is happening now is they are getting an opportunity to play. My job is to keep them happy. I had 25 last year but you can only pick 11 and nine times out of 10 you have 14 unhappy.
“I am getting closer. There is always one or two positions for someone to step in and make the spot their own but I think the squad now is relatively settled.”