Neil rues dropped points; won’t abandon play-off aims

Alex Neil: Things are looking up for Norwich

Alex Neil: Frustrated

Norwich manager Alex Neil could not hide his frustration after watching his promotion-chasing team drop two points in a 1-1 derby draw against Ipswich at Carrow Road.

The Canaries had to come from behind just to take a point after defender Jonas Knudsen had nodded the visitors ahead on the hour mark, with Jacob Murphy’s low shot somehow eluding man of the match Bartosz Bialkowski to get them back on level terms five minutes later.

But, based on opportunities created, the hosts should have won the game comfortably, leaving Neil to reflect on another blow to his side’s hopes of making the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.

“My main feeling is one of frustration,” the Scot said. “I thought the lads put in a really good performance over 90 minutes. We had more shots than them, more of the ball, more corners, more everything, but we have not won the game.

“Unfortunately we were wasteful at times, while their goalkeeper has made some unbelievable saves, and if you don’t take your chances in this game you can be hit by a sucker-punch.

“They had an effort on target and it ended up in the back of the net – that’s what can happen if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net at the other end.

“But I can’t be critical of the players. They did well over the course of the game and reacted really well after the shock of going behind. Not all teams would have reacted like that.”

Norwich are now six points behind Sheffield Wednesday, the side currently occupying the fourth and final play-off position, but Neil insists there is still everything to play for.

“We are playing Sheffield Wednesday next and if we beat them it will be down to three points – that’s just one game. If they then lost again and we won, we would be level, so we have still got every chance. I have got every faith in this group of players and they are perfectly capable of going on a run to get us back up there.”


McCarthy happy with result

Mick McCarthy: Feels pressure is on Norwich

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy was happy with the result, which extended his side’s unbeaten run to five games.

“I said before the game I would take a point, so obviously I am delighted to come away from here with a draw.

“It keeps our good little run going and it has put a little dent in their chances of going up, and that doesn’t upset me at all, to be honest.

“We have had to be strong and resilient out there against a good side. They had the better chances but we stuck in there and when they did get something on target our goalkeeper was absolutely magnificent.

“He has come in and said he is disappointed to have let their goal, in but I am certainly not going to be critical of him. He has been superb for us all season and I can’t believe there is another goalkeeper in the Championship who has made more saves, or earned his team more points.

“We had to ride our luck at times but I thought our goal was excellent. It was our best bit of play in the match and it got its reward.

“It’s very rewarding to come away from a team like Norwich, who have spent a lot of money on their squad, with a point. They brought on a £9million substitute (Alex Pritchard) and we brought on one who cost £20,000 from Forest Green (Kieffer Moore). That says it all about where the two clubs are financially.”