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Neil driven by fear of failure

Alex Neil

Norwich manager Alex Neil says the fear of failure will be a motivating factor when his team face Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off final.

The two sides were separated by just a point in the final league table and will meet at Wembley on Monday with a place in the Premier League at stake.

Norwich lost both meetings against Boro this season but Neil is determined to come out on the winning side when it matters most.

“The fear of failure, in terms of letting the players down, the fans, and the club, has certainly driven me and will continue to drive me,” he told.

“We are set up to return to the Premier League, no question. The training ground, the squad, how everything is run very professionally - we are set up to move on the next level.”

Neil started the season in the Scottish Premiership with Hamilton Academical but has made a seamless transition to the Championship after taking over from Neil Adams in January.

“People say to me quite a lot ‘you must pinch yourself’, but I don’t, I just feel at home in the job,” he said.

“I don’t get overawed by things, it doesn’t matter who I’m speaking to or what it is, I approach it for what it is. I have really enjoyed my time here and I want that to continue and for it to be as good as it can be.

“If I can get to the Premier League with a team this early that would be a fantastic achievement for everyone.”

Norwich were seventh in the table when Neil took over but only lost three matches under his tenure as they narrowly missed out on automatic promotion.

“I knew I had a point to prove to the players, media, staff, everyone,” he said. “But it was something I was going to embrace and I like a challenge. I believed in myself and that I could do the job, I am pleased everything has gone to plan.

“I had confidence I could do the job, you just hope it all goes to plan, but that is easier said than done. A lot of the staff in the background, and the players, they have they taken to my ideas and determination and the will to win.

“I’m laid back, I do have my moments where I am not that intense, but when it comes to my work it is my livelihood, I take it extremely seriously, I am not there to be happy and pick up a wage, I am here to do as well as I can.”

Asked about the encounter with Middlesbrough, Neil said: "I’m expecting a tight game, if you look at Boro they have the best home record in the league, defensively very strong, I don’t think it’s going to be an open free-flowing game.

"It will be relatively cagey, neither team will want to give anything away but both teams will want to put their stamp on the game and play it at their pace.

"It will be a tactical battle, either way I expect a really difficult game that boils down to who plays the best over 90 minutes."

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