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ALEX NEIL: WE RAN THEM CLOSE

21 November 2015

City boss on narrow Chelsea defeat

ALEX Neil believes his Norwich City team gave champions Chelsea a considerable run for their money on Saturday, even though they eventually slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Diego Costa netted the winning goal in the 64th minute after the Canaries had frustrated the champions on their own turf, while having chances of their own up the other end.

Speaking to Norwich City TV soon after the final whistle, Neil believes it was one slip in concentratation that ultimately was the difference between a positive and negative result.

"The way we set up - the gameplan and strategy we came with - worked well. We frustrated Chelsea for large parts of the game," said the Canaries' boss.

"The free-kick I'm disappointed with. I didn't think it was a foul initially, but not only that, we didn't recover quickly enough. Once they got the goal, all of a sudden you've got to try to be the aggressor and that's difficult to do.

"In the first half in particular, we looked really threatening on the break. We had a couple of opportunities, Seb (Bassong) had a really good chance at the back post.

"In the second half, I don't think our use of the ball was as good as it was in the first half, which meant we didn't get out as often as we'd like."



City had a strong appeal for a penalty rejected in the first half when Robbie Brady tumbled in the area, and Neil is of the opinion that it should have been awarded.

"We certainly should have had a penalty. Robbie's going into the box, and Willian comes from the wrong side and goes into the back of him," he explained.

"Those types of decisions haven't gone our way this season so far. It (a converted penalty) would have given us something to hold on to, and that's the biggest disappointment."

While the visitors' best opportunity fell to Bassong in the opening period, John Ruddy was called into action a number of times as the Blues put pressure on the stopper's goal.

Neil praised his goalkeeper's performance, adding: "I thought he pulled off some good saves. I thought the one from (Nemanja) Matic was the pick of the lot.

"The other ones I would have expected him to save, but he did it well. John can be happy with his days work, as can the rest of the players, but we just need to make sure we try and cut out those lapses in concentration."



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