Norwich will fight ‘tooth and nail’ to deny Newcastle their first win

Alex Neil
Alex Neil

Norwich manager Alex Neil has warned his side against thinking they will just be able to turn up at Newcastle on Sunday and heap more misery on the struggling Magpies.

Steve McClaren has seen his position come under scrutiny following a dismal start to his reign at St James’s Park.

Newcastle are without a win from the opening eight Premier League games, with five defeats leaving them slumped at the bottom of the table below rivals Sunderland after the 6-1 thrashing at Manchester City before the international break.

Neil, though, knows Norwich – who have performed admirably since returning to the top flight, with nine points so far – cannot afford any thoughts of an easy ride on Tyneside.

“If you look over the Premier League, there are no weak squads, so you know if you don’t perform well, then nine times out of 10 you will lose the game,” Neil said.

“We like to worry about what we are going to do, and not the opposition, and that is regardless of what we are playing.”

Neil continued: “Every game you go into is a must win, what people try to do is hype it up, which is your job and is fine.

“It is a big three points but it is for every club, every week, and we will go fight tooth and nail to get them.”

Norwich had 11 players away on international duty during the break.

Striker Kyle Lafferty helped Northern Ireland qualify for Euro 2016, netting seven times in eight appearances.

The 28-year-old former Rangers frontman has, however, found his first-team opportunities for Norwich limited since their promotion back to the Premier League.

Lafferty spent some of last season on loan in Turkey and has hinted he may have to consider another move away from Carrow Road to bolster his chances of being included in the Northern Ireland squad next summer.

Neil, though, will offer no player any guarantees of selection.

“I have spoken to Kyle and the rest of the players as well,” said the 34-year-old former Hamilton boss.

“Come January, if I believe he is potentially better suited elsewhere ... or he could have broken into the team by then, it depends where he sees his future lying as well.

“We will sit down and have that chat, but it depends on what happens between now and then.”

Neil added: “Players want to be playing and if they are not, then maybe they want to look elsewhere.

“But I have got to make sure I am looking after the best interests of Norwich and if it means I have to keep them here to do that, then that will be the case.”