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6 May 2016

No room for excuses, says the manager

ALEX Neil was in bullish mood when previewing Saturday's pivotal Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester United (12.45pm).

City welcome Louis van Gaal's United for the first of three season-defining matches over eight days before the end of the campaign.

Their boss knows that points are going to have to be picked up sooner rather than later if they are going to avoid relegation to the Sky Bet Championship.

He told Norwich City TV on Friday. "Like I've said before, we need to win games to make sure we stay at this level.

"It comes no bigger than this, it really is crunch time now. There is no room for excuses, we've got to go out and do the job.

"The players know exactly where we are. They gave it their best efforts against Arsenal, and I expect exactly the same this weekend."

Neil, who believes the absence of suspended United midfielder Marouane Fellaini could help his side in tomorrow's early kick-off, says City's ultimate fate will come down to whether they can 'make the difference' at key points in their remaining matches.

"What we've got to focus on is the fact that in the last few games that we've played in, we've been competitive and played relatively well," he explained.

"We just need to make the difference, whether it be someone producing a bit of quality which ends up with a goal or somebody committing a bit more going forward so we make best use of the pressure we're applying to the opposition.

"I'm just focussed on us. We need to make sure that this game counts for us."

Reinforcing the positives from last Saturday's game, he added: "I've watched it back and I think away from home against the bigger teams, it was probably our best performance even though we didn't get anything.

"I think we probably played better in that game than we did against Manchester United when we won. They are the fine margins at this level.

"We need to take that kind of performance into this game. If we can do that, then it gives us a great chance."

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