Norwich manager Alex Neil is ready to go “back to basics” in an attempt to arrest his side’s alarming slump down the Barclays Premier League table.
The Canaries host West Ham on Saturday after losing 2-0 at bottom club Aston Villa following an abject display which was a sixth straight defeat in all competitions.
After looking to have steadied form with only one defeat in five, and three wins, around the Christmas schedule, Neil’s squad are now in severe danger of plummeting straight back into the Sky Bet Championship.
Norwich have shipped 16 goals in the five successive league defeats after being dumped out of the FA Cup 3-0 at home by Manchester City, while also failing to score for two matches.
It is an alarming trend which Neil accepts must end if Norwich are to fight their way out of the relegation zone between now and May 15.
“When you are searching for a solution, you cannot just continue to do the same things,” Neil said at a press conference.
“What we are hoping to do is come up with a blueprint of this is how we would like to go about it and try to fix things.
“At the start of the season I was doing things the way I have always done, and which brought me success, but for the good of the players I was trying to help them as much as I could.
“At the moment, we are going through a difficult spell and when that type of thing happens, you get back to basics, back to what you do well and then hopefully you get the rewards from that.”
Neil’s squad have come under fierce criticism from a growing section of the Norwich support, who have seen millions spent during the January transfer window on the likes of Scotland forward Steven Naismith and Swiss defender Timm Klose yet without that record investment being translated into positive results.
The Norwich manager can understand the frustrations of the Carrow Road faithful, who saw their struggling team beaten 5-4 by Liverpool deep into stoppage time and then dismantled 3-0 by Tottenham.
“We have not given the fans enough to be happy about recently, so they are well within their rights to criticise,” he said.
“All I would ask is on Saturday, back the team, because if they want us to try to get on the front foot again, that stems from being confident, and the players are not going to be confident if they are getting stick or there is a bit of apprehension about.”
Neil added: “It is the players’ task to get the fans behind the team, to enjoy what they are seeing, but being a fan, players need you the most when you are at your lowest, so we all need to get behind them.”
West Ham, meanwhile, are challenging for a place in the top six, with the likes of French midfielder Dimitri Payet impressing for Slaven Bilic’s squad.
“They have some good players, but so have we, so we just need to approach the game and influence our style on them,” Neil said.