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First Team News

Neil: "We Showed Great Heart"

12 August 2017

Alex Neil praised the attitude of his players this afternoon after ten men North End held on for a well earned away point at Elland Road.

North End were arguably the better side for the best part of an hour before Ben Pearson's sending off on 60 minutes, and Neil praised the application of the Lilywhites with North End holding on to a 0-0 draw away to Leeds.

"I think the frustrating thing is, is that Ben getting sent off stopped the momentum of the game," said Alex on the final whistle to iFollow.

"I thought we were good; I thought we moved the ball well and looked good on the front foot and were more aggressive and I thought we dominated Leeds United on their own patch.

"When Ben goes off we obviously have to adapt a different approach as they've still got a spare man which makes it more difficult to hunt and press - I thought the lads worked extremely hard and showed how much it means to themselves, both individually and collectively - they showed great heart and I was really proud of them.

"We deserved the three points, obviously when we went down to ten men they were the better side as you'd expect but we made sure we made it hard for them as possible and we were a threat on the break as well.

"If you want to see a team for 37 minutes including injury time shut out the opposition, then that was a very good example."

As mentioned, North End were forced to shut up shop towards the latter stages of the game due to the sending off of Pearson after two yellow cards.

The first for a tackle on the semi circle, and the second for holding back an advancing Cameron Borthwick-Jackson in his own half, and the manager provided iFollow with his assessment of the incident.

"I thought the first one was a poor decision," Neil continued. "I didn't even think it was a free kick; the referee probably sees Ben flinging his body at it but he gets it.

"With the second one, I've spoke to Ben about his discipline and it's frustrating for me, and for him as he's going to miss games now and we're going to miss him as he's a big player for us. He's going to have to learn from that because that's something we can't accept going forward and we need to make sure every player keeps their discipline."

Pearson will now miss another tricky fixture, with Derby County the next side to welcome North End to their patch - but going into the game, Neil told iFollow that he is pleased with what he has seen so far from PNE two games in.

Neil added: "We wanted to press from the front and make it difficult for them today, but we've got good football players so we can take the game to teams and we've got Jordan (Hugill) who we can pump ball up tops to.

"I can't be any prouder of my players today; we've played two difficult games and kept two clean sheets and arguably, in my opinion we should have won again today so it's fantastic."

You can watch Alex's full interview with iFollow above.


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