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1 January 2016

Canaries boss looks ahead to first game of 2016

ALEX Neil insists Norwich City can take significant belief from the first half of their 2015-16 Barclays Premier League campaign, ahead of hosting Southampton at Carrow Road on Saturday (3pm).

City's 2-0 victory over Aston Villa on Bank Holiday Monday leaves them 'on track' for top-flight survival, having accumulated exactly half of the 40 points often quoted as the required benchmark after 19 matches.

However, Neil is looking for his side to garner more points across the remainder of the campaign, starting by improving upon a 3-0 reverse at Southampton in August. 

Speaking in the build-up to the Saints clash, Neil told "We understood the importance of the Aston Villa game, and it makes it a lot more difficult for them to now come back.

"It also got us to the 20-point mark halfway through the season, so I'm relatively pleased. I'd like to think we'll be a bit more confident in the second half of the season, although it's not going to be easy.

"We've been disappointed in a few games, so we want to limit that from now on. We want to get wins on the board quickly so we can start looking up the table instead of down.

"At Southampton, we didn't play well at all and Steven Whittaker getting sent off made it doubly difficult for us. Hopefully we can give a true reflection of our team this time around with a better performance."

The meeting with Ronald Koeman's men marks the Canaries' first game of 2016, following a memorable calendar year for both Club and manager.

"First and foremost, getting the job was obviously a real privilege for me," the 34-year-old City boss reflected, having joined from Hamilton Academical last January.

"Aside from that, the clear highlight last season was getting promotion at Wembley. This season there have been highs and lows, with the win at Old Trafford being one that stands out.

"We're looking to build on those highs in the New Year to make the second half of the season better for ourselves. It’s going to be an important period for us in the games coming up.

"We need to try and get off to a really good start, and that begins on Saturday."

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