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11 April 2015

City boss reflects on a do-or-die performance from City.

BOSS Alex Neil reflected on his delight after Norwich City's push for victory was rewarded with a last-gasp winner against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Gary Hooper's stoppage time finish snatched a 2-1 triumph for the Canaries, a result that keeps them in the automatic promotion places in the Sky Bet Championship with only four matches left of the regular season.

Neil introduced Hooper and the fit-again Lewis Grabban from the bench to try and force three vital points, and his bold approach was vindicated at the final whistle.

"We threw caution to the wind, we went for it and it paid off. I would always do that rather than err on the side of caution," he told Norwich City TV after the dramatic finale.

"If you're going to be aggressive or bold, then a lot of times you'll get your reward. I'd rather go for it than not go for it.

"I said to the players at half-time that they wouldn't want to have any regrets. The last thing I would have wanted to do was come away from the game regretting that I went defensive.

"When you're trying to be successful, it's never easy. It's difficult. You've got to work right to the last minute. Over the piece I thought we deserved to win it, and thankfully for us at the end we managed to do that."

Hooper's late goal came in front of City's travelling support of 2,100, and resulted in raucous celebrations at the time and after the whistle had blown.

Neil, who led his staff and players onto the pitch to applaud the fans post-match, added: "It's great for those who made the trip up here and for the players in terms of giving them belief.

"We started great and we got the goal. We then had two or three opportunities but we didn't manage to put it in the net.

"With the goal we conceded, we got stretched and left too much space in the middle of the box.

"We spoke about it at half-time, and we improved a lot in the second half defensively while still carrying a threat. You've got to put the ball in the back of the net though, and that's what we did."

Substitute Hooper also drew praise from his manager for his instinctive lob over Adam Bogdan, which came three minutes into the five added for stoppages at the end of the game.

"I brought Gary on and he's got great quality in and about the box. If you get the ball into him, one thing he can do is finish," he said.

"Thankfully for us, he had a good opportunity, it was a good finish and it got us the points."

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