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20 November 2015

Midfielder ready to face struggling champions

NORWICH City's Gary O'Neil wants to build on the feel-good factor from victory over Swansea City a fortnight ago when his side visit Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday (3pm).

A testing run of seven games without a win was brought to an end against the Swans, lifting the Canaries above their upcoming opponents in the process as the champions continued to falter.

Jose Mourinho's side have lost seven of their opening 12 league games, including three defeats at Stamford Bridge already this term.

O'Neil is keen to take advantage of any mental fragility within the Blues camp, and told the media at Colney Training Centre on Friday: "Everyone is high on confidence from Swansea so hopefully we can take that into this weekend.

"Nobody expected Chelsea to be where they are at the moment, but I'm sure with the players and manager they have it won't last. We're looking to make sure it's at least one more week before things change.

"We'll be going there with a game-plan; we're not expecting it to be any easier than normal. When you go away to big sides the aim early on is to frustrate them, but you also need to pose a threat of your own.

"We need to make it tough for Chelsea while getting players into attacking positions. The points are important to us, so we certainly won't be rolling over."

The 32-year-old midfielder has had to bide his time so far this season, with City's win against Swansea marking his first league start of the campaign.

O'Neil understands the dynamics of the modern game however, as he explained: "We've got a decent sized squad so the gaffer will pick teams based on what he thinks right for any given match.

"He won't necessarily pick the same team because you've won or change it because you've lost. I'm happy with the role I've been playing because I realise it's a squad game so I'll play whatever part he sees fit.

"I respect that, because I want to go into coaching myself one day. When you get to my age the way you view the game changes; you look at things like tactics in team meetings slightly differently. 

"It's a group of lads here, so it's not all about me for the manager. He's never going to be able to keep everyone happy, and the bigger picture is us getting enough points to stay up.

"If he thinks someone is better suited to get points on Saturday then that's fine by me. We'll go there full of optimism trying to get back-to-back wins, which is massive in this league."

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