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29 November 2015

City boss on 1-1 draw with Arsenal

ALEX Neil was proud with how his players pegged Arsenal back to pick up a deserved point in their televised meeting at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Mesut Ozil put a dominant Arsenal ahead in the first half but Lewis Grabban's equaliser two minutes prior to the break changed the game.

City were on the ascendency for much of the second half and could have earned their fourth win of the Premier League season, but in the end the points were shared.

"I'm pleased. It was one of those games where we conceded a goal from a bit of sloppy play, and you're thinking 'here we go again'," Neil told Norwich City TV post-match.

"In recent weeks, we've looked solid, played pretty well but we've made errors at vital times in games that have cost us matches and we've made it difficult for ourselves.

"Today, and credit to the players, we managed to find a way to get ourselves back in it. In the second half, if any team was going to win, it was going to be us.

"The manner in which we moved the ball towards the end and looked as though we were threatening, that breeds confidence."

City's manager was particularly happy with how his players took the game to the title-chasers in a thrilling second half.

Jonny Howson went close with a volley on the turn, and with the contest drawing to a close it was the Canaries who were applying the most pressure.

"I want that against every team, it doesn't matter if we're playing Arsenal or anybody else. We want to be aggressive," reflected Neil.

"We'd set up to make sure that we limited spaces and tried to hit them on the counter attack. I thought we did it ok but as the game wore on, we knew there were going to be more spaces as the game got bigger."

Neil sprung a surprise by bringing in Grabban for his first Premier League start since the opening day defeat to Crystal Palace.

The striker repaid his manager's faith, and Neil commented: "I just felt leading up to this game that we needed Lewis' attibutes in terms of his retention of the ball and his work-rate.

"He added all of that and he got his goal. Let's be honest - if it hadn't of worked, he would have got criticised and so would I have.

"That's the facts of football. After the performance he put in today, hopefully people can back him. I'm really pleased, I know how good a player he is."

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