Alex Neil's 'hands are tied' at Norwich City according to Cameron Jerome, who harks back to the days where senior players could give their team-mates a dose of Championship reality
PUBLISHED: 16:02 05 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:39 06 March 2017
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Discussions over Alex Neil's future should wait until the summer according to Cameron Jerome - but Norwich City's players need to learn how to accept criticism, and learn it quickly.
The Canaries’ embarrassing defeat at their one-time play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday triggered the striker to question his team-mates’ respect for each other – but the manager should not be going anywhere for now.
“He’s going to come under scrutiny again because he’s managing a team that’s expected to get promoted,” said Jerome. “Ultimately he picks a team, he’s got a talented squad at his disposal and the 11 players on the pitch aren’t doing their jobs.
“The manager and his coaching staff go thorough thoroughly all our work in the week and in depth, tactical analysis on the opposition, we know how the opposition are going to play and we train that way in the week, we set up to combat that – and ultimately it’s simple mistakes and it’s costing us.
“So what can you do? He’s on the sideline getting more and more irate, and the goals are going in one after the other.
So it’s going to be that sort of pressure on his part and on the club’s part from fans and people who are going to be calling for his head.
“But there’s no need to make a hasty decision now. There are 10 games to go and who knows what’s going to happen, but I’m sure the club’s got every faith in him and the lads still believe in him.
“It’s a decision what will probably be made at the end of the season. Nothing too hasty. A 5-1 result’s not going to suddenly change things and sack the manager. I think the club has been more than sensible enough with the patience they’ve shown with the manager this year and rightly so, because if you look at what he’s done for the club, he has actually done a good job.
“But ultimately it’s the players who go out there week in, week out, that haven’t performed. So his hands are tied from my point of view.”
City are back in action as quickly as Tuesday’s trip to bottom three side Bristol City, and Alex Neil’s men can’t afford to let Saturday’s recriminations linger.
“It’s difficult to get around those issues with another game so quickly,” said Jerome. “As a team, you don’t want to dwell on disappointment too much. The manager will have a debrief and I think everyone has just got to be honest with each other – as a person and as a human, you need to sit there and be able to accept criticism.
“I think it’s the way the game has evolved over the last five to 10 years. Certainly before I was playing, I remember being a young lad coming in to play in this league and you’d get slaughtered by some of the senior players even if they were having a nightmare and you were having a good game, just because they were the senior player and that was how it went.
“But people are too precious these days and that’s just how football has changed over the years. People aren’t willing to accept criticism and people think they’re above it.
“As a player, you sit there and no one is exempt from it. Myself included. I’ve not been doing my job fully if the team’s not winning. It’s a simple as that. It’s not just a certain area, the midfield or defence or attackers. It’s us collectively as a team, as a group of players on that pitch, we’re not doing enough to win football matches and that’s the bottom line.
“The manager can set up the team, but his 11 players that go on that pitch are pulling up short for whatever reason. So it’s disappointing. It is a quick turnaround for Tuesday and this disappointment could stay with us for however long as a person it takes you to digest it and get over it.
“We’ve still got games to play and points to play for, and with tough Easter run-ins where people play Friday-Monday, it could happen. Look, it’s not mathematically impossible.
“I just think we’re not just one team chasing now. There are three or four teams above us where we’re all chasing one spot. So I do think it’s going to be difficult but we owe it to us and to the fans and the club to keep going. We’ve got to be professional and while there’s a glimmer of hope, we’ve got to keep going.”