There are moments in those post-match interviews when the nature of the man, the manager, shines through.
You get that glimpse of what the players must see day in, day out. What makes a side go unbeaten away from home for a half a season – and all in a league where topsy-turvy is king.
And it is clear that Alex Neil doesn’t do doubt. There are no grey hours to cloud the mind – either of him as a manager or, more importantly, the minds of his players.
“I was fully confident that we would go through,” said the 33-year-old Scot, as the dust started to settle on City’s 3-1 second leg success over the neighbours – the 4-2 aggregate success taking the Norfolk club to Wembley for the first time in 30, long and lean years.
“I know it’s easy to say that now that we’re through, but I think if you don’t have that confidence then people can sense that.”
Word has it that the young, Hamilton Academicals player-manager was watched at work every game at the start of this season as Norwich put their scouting network north of the border to work. One mission; to determine whether this man is the real deal.
Whether the Scottish tabloids were right to proclaim him as a ‘natural born manager’.
The jury is no longer out on that claim. One suspects that David McNally will have lost little sleep as he swapped horses manager-wise mid-season. Neil has barely put a foot wrong since giving Steven Whittaker a go in centre midfield.
That he put his hands up for that, took the rap and allowed the player to return to his natural berth at right-back is just one example of good man management.
His substitutions invariably appear well-reasoned and timely; equally, they tend more towards the positive than the negative. This is a man and a manager that would rather be hung for a sheep than for a lamb – an attitude that will win him many a fan amongst the Canary faithful.
He diffused the ticking bomb that was Sebastien Bassong and earned his reward with another rock-like effort against the oldest of foes.
The arrival of Graham Dorrans looks a shrewd dip in the transfer market; a calm head who takes care of the ball will serve City well should they find themselves a goal to the good at Wembley.
And he knows how to find another gear out of Nathan Redmond; flick the ‘Go!’ switch with a few, well-placed words at the interval if the England Under-21 winger appears to be coasting along in cruise control.
The list will, no doubt, go on – particularly if Neil were to cap such a startling spring with success against Boro’.
“I knew we would have enough – it was just making sure that we performed on the day and, ultimately in the second-half, we did,” he added.
Nor does he appear one to hog the limelight or suck up all the plaudits that will, inevitably, start to come his way. Long gone are the ‘Alex, Alex who?’ questions that followed his arrival south of the border.
He is, clearly, a team player. City win and – occasionally – lose together. As one.
“It’s not an individual effort,” he stressed, speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards.
“I can come up with the best plan in the world, but if the players can’t implement it then that’s where the problem lies.
“So, fair play to them, I thought they were fantastic and they showed some real bottle. Their individual qualities as in what they are capable of doing was the difference in the game.
“And I think we make a good combination in terms of me coming up with the plan – and them executing it.”
He has also worked on another string to this particular bow – lowering expectation levels at Carrow Road. The Canary faithful can lose a little patience on occasion; frustration that ‘bleeds’ into the players.
He has been clever in the way that he has started to re-shape certain opinions; pull people round towards a more measured way of thinking.
“It’s a collective effort – it’s not about one person. It’s about the majority of people who put so much effort into it; that nobody sees; that don’t get the pats on the back but they have a much cause for celebration as anybody else.”
It’s that direction of travel that may yet stand Neil apart from the previous, hungry Scot that drove Norwich on.
As Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa might attest, the drive that powered Paul Lambert on didn’t always run both ways. Perhaps in his case there was the letter ‘I’ in the word team-work.
What, however, is clear is that the two men share a similar work ethic.
Neil is not about to take his foot off the gas anytime soon.
“I think [victory over Ipswich] might be cause for celebration, but for me it is half a job,” said the City chief, as he eyed the big test that still awaits on Bank Holiday Monday.
“It’s half a job – and my work will start again tomorrow. I know myself and my mind will be on the Middlesbrough game. The time for reflection will be when the season finishes.”