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ALEX NEIL: CLEAR IDEAS FOR NEXT WEEK

30 July 2016

Boss rues slow start in friendly defeat

ALEX Neil says Saturday's 3-2 pre-season defeat to Hannover served its purpose, in the sense his side will now be better prepared for their Sky Bet Championship opener next weekend.

Two goals inside the opening quarter of an hour from the away side put City on the back-foot, with the visitors from Germany showing a lethal touch to seize control of the game early on.

"The first 25 minutes will be good for us, and I said that to them," Neil told Norwich City TV after the game.

"They are a good side who attacked and approached the game in a manner that we'd have liked to. We didn't really come to terms with their high pressing so unfortunately I had to change it.

"From that point onwards, it did get better. Having that shock should get us in the right frame of mind for next week.

"We can't afford for it to happen at Blackburn."

The testing start to the match saw winger Jacob Murphy withdrawn in favour of Graham Dorrans; the hosts reverting to a slightly more compact formation from then on.

"I spoke to Jacob and said it was nothing to do with him," Neil explained.

"We needed a more narrow midfield because we were getting dominated in those areas. After we'd made that change we won more second balls.

"For next week now, I've got a clear idea of how I'd want to go about it. The players have got to start with a better frame of mind."

City's boss also paid tribute to Wes Hoolahan, with the Republic of Ireland international netting a smart brace in the second period to put the hosts back into the contest. 

"Wes has always been a special player for us," he added.

"More often that not, he's one I turn to when I need someone to deliver. He very rarely lets me down.

"We all know his qualities, we just want to keep him in as good a shape as we can. That will allow us to get the maximum from him because he'll be key for us this year."




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