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ALEX NEIL: A POOR PERFORMANCE NOT TO BE REPEATED

30 August 2015

City manager reacts to defeat at Southampton

ALEX Neil admitted his team were off the pace as they suffered their second loss of the season against Southampton on Sunday.

Graziano Pelle's late first-half strike and Dusan Tadic's brace condemned Neil's side to a 3-0 defeat at St Mary's Stadium.

Steven Whittaker's dismissal for two yellow cards half an hour in didn't help the Canaries' cause, but their manager was disappointed with the level of performance throughout the 90 minutes.

"When we had 11 men we didn't perform well. We didn't move to ball well enough or quickly enough. Ultimately we lost the match and deserved to lose the match," he told Norwich City TV after the final whistle.

"What's difficult to take is that the group set their own standards and they didn't meet them today. That's hard to accept, but the one thing I will say is that since I've been here the group has performed exceptionally well.

"I will give them the benefit of the doubt today and put it down to a bad day's work, but I won't expect it to be repeated.

"The players will be hurting and will be feeling a bit of pain, and rightly so, and hopefully that will bring out the best response in the next match."

The result means Neil's unbeaten away record as manager, which stood at 14 matches heading into Sunday, is over - and he says he's taken valuable lessons from City's first four games back in the top flight.

"I think I've learned that we've got to be at the top end of our scale in terms of our work-rate, and doing all the right things and making decisions," he commented.

"If you're not at it and you're making silly decisions, then it's going to be a difficult day especially away from home in the Premier League.

"We've played four matches now, and in three of them I think we've been excellent. Today we were really poor, so we have to take stock and move onto the next match."

On Whittaker's two bookings within four minutes, Neil added: "I thought the first one was a bit soft because Steven is trying to recover his position so the guy can't take a throw in and put it into the area that he's just left.

"For the second one he's tugged the lad back and I don't think there was any need to because the ball was running through to John Ruddy.

"The first one was a bit harsh but the second one was a silly decision, and it's ultimately cost us."


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