Alex Neil frustrated as Stoke fail to take their chances in draw with Norwich



Posted Sunday, March 19, 2023 by PA

Alex Neil frustrated as Stoke fail to take their chances in draw with Norwich

Stoke manager Alex Neil was disappointed his dominant side did not put Norwich to the sword.

The Potters were by far the better team but failed to find the back of the net in a goalless draw at the bet365 Stadium.

Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn denied them on numerous occasions and striker Jacob Brown was guilty of not scoring at least one of his four chances.

“I thought we were the dominant side through the whole game,” said Neil. “And I thought we were the better team.

“We spoke about Norwich and the DNA of Norwich and how they try to play and I think that’s the first time I’ve seen a Norwich side come here and play for a draw or go anywhere and play for a draw really in the Championship.

“They were hard to break down and hard to get through but having said that, if we’d have scored three goals, four goals, I don’t think anyone would have had any complaints. We had numerous chances to take the lead, we didn’t take it.

“The only way Norwich looked like they were going to score was in transition, particularly when we forced the ball central. We needed to work around the shape.

“But I thought we were excellent. It was never going to be an easy game.

“It was a different challenge for us. The last couple of games have been man for man and the game has opened up, but this time you could see Norwich not getting the ball out from a goal-kick. I’ve not seen them do that before.

“I think they understand how good we are at pressing the ball and gave us a lot of respect, and they get a point from the game.

“I’ve got no qualms with people playing that way, by the way. I don’t want to make out they shouldn’t have done it.

“How you want to play the game is up to you, it just surprised me a little bit because I’ve seen Norwich play for years and that’s not generally their style.”

Norwich boss David Wagner praised his side.

“I’m very pleased with the performance, especially the fighting spirit and togetherness we showed,” said Wagner.

“We really had to stick together after a really tough week – and the players have done this.

“We had three games in six days and have had injury problems, so we really, really had to fight to earn something.

“We had a very good opportunity to score with the very first opportunity of the game, but Stoke had some very good opportunities as well and Gunny [Gunn] was fantastic.

“I’m very happy for him, it was a fantastic performance from him.

“In the second half we had some good counter moments, but unfortunately we were not able to use.

“I’m really pleased with the performance, particularly defensively.”

A battling draw saw the Canaries move a point closer to a play-off place and Wagner added: “We are looking forward to our next eight games now, everything is clear, we are just three points behind the places, which makes it interesting.

“We can turn this season into a successful season, but I have never had more belief than after this game.

“I’ve got a lot of self-belief the players are committed and the players will push in the last eight games as hard as we can to get into the play-offs.”

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