Boss previews high-stakes meeting with Sunderland

ALEX Neil says his players must relish the occasion when they go head-to-head with relegation rivals Sunderland this Saturday (12.45pm).

The Canaries would put seven points between themselves and the bottom three with victory as they approach the finale of a dramatic Premier League season.

Addressing Norwich City TV on Friday, Neil admitted that all eyes will be on Carrow Road come lunchtime when the highly-anticipated clash gets underway live on BT Sport.

"This is what we play football for, to be involved in big games. The focus is going to be on the game and rightly so," he said.

"We've been in high pressure situations quite a lot of the time since I've been here, and you've got to enjoy it and go and show everybody what you can do.

"It's really important with the magnitude of the game that the players and the fans recognise the occasion and more importantly enjoy it.

"The clappers and the noise of the crowd helped everyone against Newcastle. The importance of that game is very similar to this one."

City missed the chance to extend their good form last time out against Crystal Palace as Jason Puncheon's second half goal settled an even game at Selhurst Park.

Neil is expecting another tight match against the Black Cats, who have won just one of their last eleven league contests but have drawn four of their last five.

He commented: "Both teams don't want to give anything away, but both teams will recognise the fact that they both need to win the game.

"Who will get the first goal will help, and as the game goes on I think it will open up.

"It will be two different halves - the first will be cagey with each team trying to get a foothold in the game, and in the second half one team or the other will have to go for it."

Sam Allardyce has been frustrated with Sunderland's inability to convert promising performances into three points, and Neil added: "I know how that feels but that's the Premier League, it's unforgiving.

"They've been playing well in some of the games but Sam and his team won't want to hear that.

"The biggest thing is winning games, and it will be up to us to make sure it's going to be a hard afternoon for them."

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