Alex Neil has revealed that Arsenal provided the blueprint for Norwich’s 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat of Swansea.
Jonny Howson’s close-range, second-half header secured victory on Saturday after the manager had reorganised his team into a more defensive shape to attack Swansea on the counter.
Norwich allowed their visitors the majority of the possession – as Arsenal had done in their 3-0 away victory a week previous – to successfully end a run of six games without a win, but Neil also acknowledged that such negativity represented a risk in front of a home crowd when the Canaries were not hosting a top-four team.
“We watched Arsenal, obviously, and the first half they conceded possession, and then they managed to hit them and hurt them on the counter-attack,” he said.
“I thought we did similar: first half our use of the ball wasn’t good enough, which meant we sat deeper and deeper, but (as the) second half wore on we were much more threatening going forward and it looked as if we could have scored more.
“The bottom line is, managing a club, you’re always going to be under pressure and if it didn’t work and we lost the game, then I would have been heavily criticised, the team would have been heavily criticised, ‘The tactics would have been rubbish’, but that’s the facts of football, that’s the way football is.
“When you win, now it’s the perfect plan. That’s the thin lines and thin margins of football. What you’ve got to do as a manager is what you think’s right for your team to get the points, not what anybody else thinks.
“As soon as you’re doing that, you’re in the wrong job.”