City boss praises players' efforts despite narrow defeat

CITY's players couldn't have put any more into the game even though they lost 1-0 to Arsenal on Saturday, according to Alex Neil.

The Canaries, chasing points to save themselves from Premier League relegation, created the better chances against their more illustrious hosts but Danny Welbeck's second half finish settled the contest.

Reflecting on his team's performance to Norwich City TV, Neil said: "I don't think I could have asked much more from the players today.

"I thought they worked extremely hard, their attitude was excellent and I thought we showed some real quality at times. I don't think we got what we deserved out of the game.

"A lot of people were coming to or watching the game questioning whether we've got the bottle for the fight, whether we were just going to curl up and die or were we going to go out there and show what we're made of?

"I thought the boys answered those questions. They gave everything they could give, you can't ask any more of a group of players.

"All I will ask of them is that they go into the next three games with that type of effort and endeavour and quality, and if we do that I'm confident we can pick up points."

Nathan Redmond was twice denied by Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech during the first half, while Gary O'Neil also spurned an opening as City caught their opponents on the counter-attack.

Neil feels the game might have swung on those missed opportunities, adding: "I think if we maybe took one of our really good chances we made in the first half, it might have been a different game.

"There was only a five minute spell where the game became really stretched, and that happened right before the goal. We didn't recover quickly enough and they scored in that period, which was disappointing.

"We knew before today's game that we need to win games to stay in the league.

"We're disappointed we didn't get something today, but we've now got two home games where we need to get as many points as we can."

Neil also confirmed post-match that Ryan Bennett was missing from the matchday squad due to illness.

"We were hoping he was going to be involved," he revealed. "He did a bit of training on Friday, the first he'd done in a week, but he took a bad reaction when we were trying to get him ready, and he wasn't ready."

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