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9 April 2016

City boss on Selhurst Park reverse

ALEX Neil says Norwich City came out on the wrong side of an 'egdy' game as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Neither side was brimming with creativity in a disjointed contest but it was Jason Puncheon's well-taken goal midway through the second half that earned the Eagles their first league win since December.

Neil reflected after the final whistle: "The type of game that it was, was one most people had predicted.

"It was going to be an edgy game, I didn't think there was going to be a huge amount in it. It was going to be decided by a bit of quality, a mistake or a decision. Unfortunately we found ourselves on the wrong side of that.

"I didn't think it was a great game. I thought both teams were relatively direct, and with Dieu (Mbokani) in the team we went more direct than we would have liked at times.

"We got into some decent positions without ever having the quality to break them down, but to be honest I thought it was likewise for them. A lot of the games are really finely balanced."

City remain outside the relegation places despite the defeat, but they face a mouthwatering clash with direct rivals at Sunderland in next Saturday's televised early kick-off.

Whether influential defender Timm Klose will be fit for that game is yet to be determined after he was stretchered off with a knee injury five minutes before half-time.

"We need to analyse it over the next day or so and that should give us a good reflection, but it is a blow for us and it was a blow during the game," reflected Neil.

"Him and Ryan (Bennett) have built up a good partnership and unfortunately when Timm goes off it doesn't help anyone.

"He's been great and we looked comfortable when he was on the pitch, so it's disappointing."

Matt Jarvis tumbled in the area in the opening period and although Neil didn't have a view on the incident having only witnessed it from a distance, he says the winger was certain it should have been a penalty.

"It was difficult for me to see it at the time but I spoke to Matt Jarvis and he was adamant he got to the ball and that it was a penalty and games can be decided on those types of things," said Neil.

Looking ahead to next weekend's game, he added: "Regardless of what happened today, that game was always going to be big.

"We've got an opportunity next week to get ourselves as far away from the relegation zone as we can. We'll watch tomorrow's game with a bit of interest."

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