Manager speaks following Derby defeatALEX Neil says the result of Saturday's game against Derby County could have gone either way, even though it was the hosts who claimed all three points with a 1-0 win.
Bradley Johnson, playing against City for the first time since leaving to join Derby last year, fired home the winning goal via a deflection midway through the second half.
Neil's side have now lost five consecutive league matches - but he refused to criticise his players after an even contest at the iPro Stadium.
"I thought it was a really tightly fought game," Neil told Norwich City TV. "My team worked extremely hard. I've been critical of them when I think they've deserved criticism, and I don't think I can criticise any of them today.
"The game was decided by a deflected shot from outside the box. We had two real strong penalty shouts, one in the second half in particular. It's a surprise to me that it wasn't given.
"We had the best chance of the game with Steven (Naismith) going through one on one with Scott Carson, who makes a good save.
"At times, when things aren't going your way, it kicks you in the gut and that was the case today."
Neil had made three changes to his team from last week's loss to QPR, but injuries to Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey set City back after a positive opening 45 minutes.
He added: "Bear in mind that Alex comes off after 60 minutes, Youssouf Mulumbu's not played in two months, I end up losing Cameron in the first half, and I've also got four players who are out for this game already.
"Six of my starting eleven who have been playing most of the games haven't been available.
"The lads who came in I thought applied themselves extremely well and they worked their socks. I've got no complaints over my team.
"In the end, we didn't take an opportunity that we had, we didn't get a decision that we should have got and they got a deflected goal."