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22 October 2016

Manager assesses first home defeat of the season

ALEX Neil says his side didn't click in the final third as they went down 1-0 at home to Preston North End on Saturday.

Defender Alex Baptiste's bullet header 15 minutes from the end inflicted a first Carrow Road defeat on the Canaries this season while extending the visitors' impressive recent run of form.

Neil felt that, for perhaps the first time this campaign, his team didn't pose the attacking threat that had seen them score two times or more in each of their previous nine matches.

He told Norwich City TV after the full-time whistle: "I think they (Preston) were disciplined, but I think the other teams we've played have been disciplined.

"They worked hard, they had their shape about them, but I thought we had enough ball to make better use of it.

"I don’t think we moved it quick enough from side to side, I didn’t think we split lines as well as we do, I didn’t think when it went up to the top end that we kept the ball up there as well as what we normally do.

"And then our inability to keep a cleansheet turned it in from being a frustrating draw into a frustrating defeat."

With the EFL Cup game at Leeds United so close on the horizon, Neil has faith that his players can show the character to improve on this disappointing showing.

"I think if we’ve got any guts or any bottle about us, then we will bounce back. I’ve got no worries about the players, you know," he added

"The one thing they are, they’re honest and they work extremely hard and they tried to play well today, we just didn’t play as well as what we normally do.

"That’s really frustrating for everybody connected but I’ll be demanding and I’m sure they’ll be demanding of eachother for the next game that we perform a lot better."

One player Neil will definitely be without for the trip to Elland Road and for the foreseeable future is Jonny Howson, who is set for an extended spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

"He had surgery to fix his ankle/heel type area, and it’s really, really frustrating for us because Jonny’s a big player and we’re going to be missing him for quite a few weeks," Neil confirmed.

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