Alex Neil on the back foot after Norwich City fans vent their anger at Rotherham
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'Neil Out' was the chant from Norwich City fans at Rotherham but the Canaries' boss has an ally in Millers' interim chief and City fan Paul Warne.
Warne and ex-Norwich City academy prospect Tom Adeyemi inflicted a painful 2-1 Championship defeat that enraged sections of the travelling support.
“I played with Alex at Mansfield and know him really well,” said Warne, who is in temporary charge of the strugglers for the rest of the season. “I joked with him before the game why would you choose to do this for a living? It is hard work. I won’t pretend anything else. It is really, really tough and I feel the pressure but compared to him and what he is under I don’t have anything. I don’t know how he does it. He has got my respect.”
Neil himself cut a dispirited figure after the final whistle.
“The fans made their feelings clear. Listen, there is nothing I can do about that. They will say what they want to say,” he said. “After Derby, everyone said how well we had played and it was the exact same team that took the field, apart from Martin Olsson. It is a backward step, really frustrating and disappointing. We felt we were building some momentum, particularly after Derby, but we didn’t perform with 11 anywhere near we can.”
Nelson Oliveira’s early red card was the fourth in six away trips but Neil denied his side have a discipline problem.
“He has let himself down, he has let his team mates down,” said Neil. “Nelson’s reaction is unacceptable and we will deal with that. I have seen the footage and Kirk Broadfoot is not an innocent party. If you look at them in isolation, Martin Olsson is for a handball in the first couple of minutes. Jonny Howson was for a handball and Robbie Brady I didn’t think merited a red card. I don’t think there is a lack of discipline.”
Steven Whittaker suffered a torrid afternoon deputising for Olsson at the New York stadium with Robbie Brady suspended. Tom Adeyemi burst in behind the full-back - after Jonny Howson failed to track his run - to provide the assist for the opening goal before he rose majestically above Whittaker to head the winner past John Ruddy.
“Robbie is obviously suspended. He would have played if not,” said Neil. “For the first goal we don’t watch a runner. He gets in behind us and puts in a cross. Steven is trying to recover but he is a midfield player running from deep. Adeyemi is a right midfielder. Then Jonny goes off injured after the red card so pretty much anything that could go wrong did for us.
“We have Alex Tettey one booking from a ban and now we are light on midfielders. By the end I have Steven (Nasimith), (Alex) Pritchard and Wes (Hoolahan) as my middle three. That is pretty much all I have fit and available. We have one midfielder now, when we started the season with five and people said we were overloaded.“