The boss speaks to the local press following the draw against MK Dons“In the second half I think we stepped up to the plate. We started to own the football. We started to dictate the terms of the game and we carved out some very good chances and could easily have won it.”
“Today I felt we just needed to shore things up a bit and take a step backwards to take a step forwards in the game.
“It is all part of the learning process. He’ll be stronger for having had today’s game and, as I say, when you get the more experienced lads in you can keep your 4-4-2 and still deal with the defensive problems.
“Will’s a young player and a great prospect. He’s going to be a terrific player in time. But in the bigger games against some of the better players and the more experienced players and bigger clubs he is going to face situations which are new to him, and see pictures that he’s not quite familiar with.
“We did not have a lot of experience in the two wide areas. If Holmesy was playing down the left hand side you would probably have seen him tuck in a lot more, recognising defensive pictures, being more tactically aware.
“Although we tried not to make too much of it, it was probably their debut in front of the cameras. Will had a new pair of boots out for the occasion. Sometimes young players play for the occasion, not the game and I think we looked off it in the first half.
“It was a much improved second half from the lads. We had a very young side out there with the likes of Will and Jeffrey.
Teenager Will Hayhurst was substituted at half-time by Westley as the Preston boss looked to improve his young side’s shape ahead of their improved second half display, but the PNE boss revealed that the 18-year-old should not be too disheartened as his time will soon come.
out and go again second half, and I think when we did that we put in a really positive display in the second half and could easily have won it.”
“We know we fell a little bit short in the first half but we did what good sides can do, which is that when it is not quite going your way you dig in, you earn the right to get yourselves in at half time, sort yourselves
“They are a side that are in the top six and want to push on. We have been more than a match for them over 90 minutes.
“MK Dons are not like us, finishing 15th last year and wiping the slate clean and starting again. They’ve had years to build what they have got right now. They have added players in the summer. They have spent well enough to get their squad together and hold their squad together.
“I obviously want to win our home games, I want to win every game, but you want to win at home. I think today was a test against a side who have consistently been inside the top six.
The Preston North End boss was also pleased with how his side held on to keep the game scoreless heading into the interval, before producing a much stronger performance after the break against a team that have been touted as one of the early favourites for promotion this season.
“When he committed himself he committed himself whole-heartedly. I think he’s a big part of the reason why we got a clean sheet today.”
“He’s fought back and earned his way back into the 18 and today he went on and I thought he put in a first class defensive display. His organisation, his motivation of people around him was top drawer.
“He has been in the gym, he has been out on the training ground working on his technical aspects. Robbo has been relentless and not taken no for an answer.
“I’ve said to them all when you are in that situation, that is when you have got to do your hardest work. You have got to work hard on your mentality, you have got to work hard as a character.
“I though Robertson was outstanding when he came on,” said Westley. “Real credit must go to him because he has been number 23 in the squad or number 22 in the squad so far this season. He’s been on the fringes and has not really had a look in, and then he comes in off the bench and puts in a performance like that.
The game marked the ex-Torquay United defender’s first league appearance of the season, and he was a rock at the back as PNE fought back from a tough first half performance to earn a well-deserved point.
Robertson, who has featured sparingly for the Lilywhites so far this season, came on as a first half substitute for Paul Huntington, with North End being in danger of being reduced to ten men after the ex-Yeovil Town defender had been booked earlier in the half.
Graham Westley was full of praise for centre-back Chris Robertson as Preston North End claimed their fourth clean sheet of the season with a 0-0 draw against promotion rivals MK Dons.