LONDON — Norwich City may be celebrating promotion back to the Premier League via the playoffs, but their ambitious young manager Alex Neil is already thinking about strengthening his squad.
Neil (33), who is set to be the only Scottish manager in the English top flight next season, steered the humble Canaries to a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at Wembley Stadium on Monday.
The rugged Scot has little time to enjoy the achievement, however, with meetings scheduled to discuss reinforcements for the task ahead before he takes a well-earned holiday.
“The next couple of days will be busy. It’s been a long two seasons for me and the playoffs is another three weeks. I’m here to do as well as I can to make us as good as can be,” he said.
“We’ve got two plans set in place in terms of recruitment,” he added as his thoughts turned to the Norfolk club’s Plan A.
Having secured a promotion that will bring riches of at least £120 million (R2,2 billion) from ticket sales, TV rights, prize money and sponsorship, he has money to spend.
Norwich are fortunate to have a man who is confident in his ability and his management approach has already been compared to the steely determination of fellow Scot Alex Ferguson.
“I set goals and I’m really determined to try to achieve those goals. I don’t get overawed by anyone or even any place. I’m there to do a job and I’ll do it as best I can,” he said.
Among his priorities will be a winger and a central defender to free captain Russell Martin to play in his favoured right back position instead of filling gaps in the middle.
Having brought success to the club co-owned by celebrity cook Delia Smith, after replacing Neil Adams in January, Neil knows he has raised the bar and that brings its own pressure.
“My biggest challenge is going to be expectation,” he said. “People will expect us to do really well in the Premier League, but it’s extremely difficult.
“There will be a hell of a lot of hard work just to make sure we can compete at that level.” — Reuters