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10 December 2016

Opening 45 minutes frustrates City boss

ALEX Neil says Norwich City's failure to compete for the full 90 minutes came at the ultimate cost as they went down to a 2-1 Sky Bet Championship defeat at Barnsley on Saturday.

Second best for much of the opening period, the Canaries found themselves two goals down at the break as strikes from Tom Bradshaw and Conor Hourihane put the hosts in firm control.

Although City improved to pull a goal back through Nelson Oliveira, it would prove to be vain and after the game Neil told Norwich City TV: "We didn't compete or do the things we did in the second half.

"We just physically didn't win our battles. You've got to earn the right to play. The last time we got promoted we won physical fights all over the pitch.

"In recent weeks we've been physically beaten up and bullied. We've not been outplayed, we've just not won our physical battles and that happened today.

"I don't want people to think it's the two lads who came off at half-time, because it's not. The rest of the team didn't win their battles either.

"All I can do is apologise for the first 45 minutes, because it's painful for me to watch. I'm pleased the players responded in the second half but it was too late."

The City boss took his share of responsibility for the outcome, and added: "The one thing I'll look at is I think I picked the wrong team.

"I was persuaded by the team that did well last week, but if you don't scrap away from home at this level you'll get bullied. It was nothing to do with tactics, nothing to do with quality.

"Basically, they fought and scrapped to physically dominate us. I made two changes at half-time and it reversed in the second half where we were physically dominant and had chances but it was too little, too late.

"If I'd changed the team and we'd lost it would have looked bad. I let that swing my mind and I shouldn't have; I'm disappointed in myself that it did."

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