Norwich spirit remains strong despite poor run, insists Neil

Date published: Tuesday 1st March 2016 9:07

Alex Neil: Norwich host Chelsea on Tuesday

Alex Neil: Norwich host Chelsea on Tuesday

Alex Neil insists his Norwich side do not need a pick-me-up after their last-gasp defeat to league-leaders Leicester at the weekend.

The Canaries have taken just one point from their last seven Barclays Premier League matches, with a worrying habit of conceding decisive late goals, and were undone by an 89th-minute winner from Leonardo Ulloa at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

The poor run has left Neil’s men outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone and on Tuesday they welcome reigning champions Chelsea to Carrow Road.

But, despite their lack of results and a late sucker punch against the title favourites, Neil said his players have already dusted themselves down.

“We haven’t really needed to pick them up,” he said.

“Players are clever. They know they deserved more than what they got and hopefully they can take great heart from that performance and endeavour into the next game.

“In recent weeks we’ve had games where we’ve been in control of them, but for one reason or another we’ve let a lead slip or found ourselves on the wrong end of the result.

“Obviously I’m hoping that it’s going to change on Tuesday. If we can get something out of the game then it would be a huge bit of encouragement going into Saturday’s match (at Swansea).”

Norwich narrowly lost 1-0 to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea earlier in the season as the Blues struggled in defence of their title.

Mourinho has since departed and the re-appointment of interim boss Guus Hiddink has seen an upturn in form for Chelsea – with Neil expecting a tough test in Norfolk.

He said: “Chelsea have certainly found some form, compared to the start of the season.

“Individuals are performing better than they were, that is for sure, and I think they have picked up points on the back of it.

“When we played Arsenal and Everton at home recently, we gave a really good account of ourselves and there’s no reason why this can’t be the same.”

Neil reverted to three centre-backs for the game at Leicester as Norwich almost kept a clean sheet against a side containing free-scoring stars Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.

But he was coy when asked if he would stick with his 3-4-3 formation for the Chelsea clash.

“I’ve used it a few times but generally I think it’s best suited when you’re playing against a front two,” he added.

“When the opposition play one up front, you end up with the three centre-backs occupying one striker which allows them to overload other areas.

“We’ve got to bear in mind how comfortable some of the players look in it, but also whether it is best suited to win other games.”

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