Alex Neil is not for turning after Norwich City fans deliver damning verdict
PUBLISHED: 07:30 19 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:30 19 December 2016
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Alex Neil is prepared to risk the wrath of Norwich City's disgruntled support as the pressure mounts on the Scot.
Neil’s decision to substitute in-form striker Nelson Oliveira in Friday’s 2-1 Championship defeat - a seventh in the last nine league games - sparked an ugly Carrow Road backlash.
The City chief was baited with chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ before majority shareholder Delia Smith was urged to ‘sort out’ a season in freefall. A defiant Neil reiterated after the game he is in no mood to quit and the 35-year-old is determined to do it his way.
“I stick by my decision. I would make the same one again,” said Neil. “I judged the state of the game and the fact is the fans wanted me to play two up front. But we were dominated in the middle area in the first-half. By going two up top that gives them an extra man in the middle and I felt we had momentum at that stage in the second-half. Nelson, with the exertions he had put in recently, I thought we needed some fresh legs. I was considering making a substitution in the first-half but I was hoping we would get to grips with the game.
“As always there is tos and fros. The game can change significantly and I go back to an early chance for Nelson which could have been a factor. I have seen it on television and it is a much better chance than I first thought. It is a free shot from 12 yards. Then their goal is offside. Looking at things we had more clear chances. Nelson can lob the goalie, Seb (Bassong) has a header from six yards, the keeper makes a good save from Jacob (Murphy). There was enough there to merit something from the game.
“I can understand the feeling of the fans. Seven defeats out of nine is not acceptable. Fans want to win games, they are not bothered about performances. Football is results-driven and if you don’t you come in for criticism.”
Neil concedes Norwich face a ‘mammoth task’ to get back in the promotion picture ahead of a Boxing Day trip to Reading.
“We are not thinking about that. We are thinking about basically trying to win the next game,” he said. “It is a mammoth task and we are going to have to raise the bar to achieve it. It looks highly unlikely we are going to catch the top two the way we are going and the sides at the top. It looks like play-offs might be our best option.”