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“We Lacked Quality In The Final Third” Says Alex Neil

23 December 2017

Although manager Alex Neil was relatively pleased with what he saw on the whole this afternoon, the boss felt it was the decisions in the final end of the pitch that denied them maximum points.

Speaking after the final whistle, Neil said: “If you look at games and take the performance aside and look at the result, then yes we are disappointed that we haven’t won the game but I think the performance was actually better than some of the performances we’ve had as of late that’s won the game so that’s a frustration in itself.

“However, we lacked a little bit of quality in the final third. There was some really good individual performances and Nottingham Forest set up to hit us on the counter attack which is what happened for the goal. That’s disappointing as I felt we should have stopped the move a little quicker - but over the 90 minutes, barring the last ten minutes leading up to half-time we were the better side. 

“I thought we controlled the ball and controlled the game so that's a little frustrating as I don’t think the lads got what they deserved.

"I thought the selection of cross or pass wasn’t great but also the movement in the box needs to be a bit better. Alan Browne had a couple of opportunities and his next step is that he needs to add more goals to his game. He gets in to great areas but it’s the putting the ball in the net part that he is lacking at the moment and we need to add that to his game. Although the lads at the top end of the pitch worked really hard, that was the bit that we lacked. 

It was the visitors that opened the scoring through Ben Brereton who – against the run of play slotted the ball past Chris Maxwell to send Mark Warburton’s side one up, and it was the nature of the goal that frustrated the gaffer more than anything when he spoke to iFollow post-match.

Neil added: “It was a counter attack and that’s the way they set up. We had an opportunity to stop it and the frustrating thing is, if you look at the back four, three of them go to press and one sits back and that plays the lad onside.

“It was against the run of play but I thought we showed really good character to come back and get the next goal.”

“Our lads never give in and they keep working. They’re a great bunch and they do everything that they possibly can. At times they may make a bad decision or pass or whatever, but that’s just part and parcel of the game. I can assure you that nobody gets as frustrated as me but I’d much rather have our guys giving everything they’ve got than some of the other players about."    

It took a moment of magic from Paul Huntington to earn North End a point - who took the ball in his stride before firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, and Neil acknowledged the importance of goals coming from across the starting line up.

“I think sometimes you need lads from the back to step up and get you a goal,” continued the Scotsman.

“The lads at the top end of the pitch found it difficult today but thankfully big Hunts managed to step up and find the bottom corner and he’ll be delighted with that as are we.

“There’s still more to come from our forward lads and I’m sure they’ll be winning us games soon.”

 Head to iFollow to watch Alex Neil's full interview now. 

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