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CITY v VILLA: THE MANAGER'S PREVIEW

27 December 2015

Neil: I would probably call it a must-win

ALEX Neil isn't phased by the quick turnaround as he readies his team for Monday's vital Premier League encounter with Aston Villa (3pm).

City, outside of the relegation places only on goal difference, host the top flight's bottom club just two days after going down 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur.

"It will be interesting to see how we respond but other teams will have to do it as well, it's not as if it's just us," he told reporters.

"It's not as if they're called upon to do it all the time, it's a one-off and we need to get ourselves ready because it's an important game for us."



Neil knows that a positive result against Remi Garde's strugglers will be a big boost to the Canaries at the halfway point in the campaign.

"There are games in and about you that you've got to win, so I would probably call it a must-win, even though I don't think anything's going to be determined by this particular game," said the Scot.

"However, three points against them certainly makes things a lot better. It's a snowball effect between now and the end of the season. Every game becomes bigger if you don't win games."

Villa have come from behind to pick up draws against Newcastle United and West Ham United in their last two matches, but the Midlands club haven't won since beating Bournemouth in their season curtain-raiser in August.

Neil won't be taking anything for granted ahead of Monday however, adding: "I don't think you can underestimate any team in the Premier League. To be in the Premier League, you've got to be a good side.

"Form and different things like that will change throughout the season - Villa have been picking up some results recently in terms of getting draws.

"They'll be approaching it as a must-win game from their point of view, so in that sense every team that you play against is dangerous."

On team selection, Neil revealed: "Wes (Hoolahan) was one where if I had played him against Tottenham, he wouldn't have made the next one. The next game suits him.

"Gary O'Neil was a different situation, he couldn't make the (Spurs) game as he wasn't quite ready, we had to give him an extra day's rest."



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