Ed Balls insists Norwich City hierarchy are avoiding 'complacency'
Archant Norfolk 2016
Alex Neil may once again have received clear backing from Norwich City’s directors at the club’s AGM, but chairman Ed Balls insists the board are not being ‘complacent’ about the need for promotion this season.
Instead a calm, measured approach to pressure on the manager is being attempted, in the hope that Neil can rediscover some of his previous magic.
“We had a board meeting this afternoon. I can tell you there’s no complacency here, but actually as a board we’re thinking, one, three, five years ahead,” Balls said following the AGM.
“In football, of course, if you have three or four bad games that puts you under pressure, but a couple of wins can turn things around and we really need those wins at the moment. But there really is no complacency here and also no sense that we have got things fundamentally wrong.
“We’ve got a high quality manager, a high quality squad and if that Murphy goal had gone in (at QPR), if we’d held our nerve in five minutes of extra time at Newcastle, if Leeds would not have had an amazing shot in extra-time, things would have been very different.
“Football’s about fine margins. There’s no complacency here and Alex more than anybody is determined for us to turn things around in the next few weeks.”
The fact that Neil led City to promotion, via the play-off final, has clearly earned him loyalty amongst the Canaries hierarchy.
“He’s proven as a manager that he can take a football club from the Championship to the Premier League,” Balls said. “He did that for us two years ago, he did that from a difficult position, considerably worse than this point in the season in the Championship than we are facing today, and he turned it around with a record that was second to none.
“We would have gone up with 120-odd points if he’d been there for the whole season. Football clubs have good runs and tough runs. Everyone knows we’ve got a Premier League quality squad, not just a Championship squad, we’ve got a manager who knows what he’s doing. The board are backing the players and the manager.”