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First Team News

Alex Neil: “I Will Take Full Responsibility”

4 November 2017

Manager Alex Neil spoke candidly about the clash at Portman Road and felt his team dropped below the standards expected of them.

Speaking after goals from Martyn Waghorn, David McGoldrick and Bersant Celina gave the home side a 3-0 win, the North End gaffer spoke about his disappointment for the travelling Lilywhites fans.

“I will take full responsibility. I pick the team and my biggest disappointment is for the Preston fans who travelled the long way down, because it certainly wasn’t good enough,” he told the media after the game.

“It was disappointing.

“In the first half it was a scruffy game and they got a free kick that probably came after our best spell of the game – we had just had five or ten minutes there we had put a few goo crosses into the box and we looked threatening.

“I don’t think they had had a shot at our goal until that stage.

“I am not sure whether it was a free kick or not, but they got it and Maxi gambled and the lad put it in the far corner and we were really disappointed to go into the break at half-time, because there had been nothing in the game to that point.

“Then one cross came into the box and we lost a poor header at the back post and it ended up at 2-0 and we were chasing the game. We can kid ourselves that we played well after that, but we didn’t, we kept the ball because they allowed us to keep the ball, but we kept the ball because allowed us to.

“There wasn’t a great lot of quality in the game until the opening goal and there wasn’t a lot of clear cut chances.”

After a run of one defeat in the first 12 matches, the results of late have not been acceptable to the manager and he admitted he will analyse everything to return back to that early season form.

“It is really difficult to accept the contrast between the run we had at the start of the season and the recent run,” he continued. “Today we lost Darnell Fisher [with a groin injury] and that is our tenth different back four that we have had to put together in 16 matches, which is never going to be easy, but equally people who were in the team at the start of the season aren’t hitting the heights that they did then and I have to then and I have to look at that.

“I have stuck with those players through the majority of the games, but equally we have not performed well enough in the last four games.”

The news before kick-off about the loss of Sean Maguire for an extended period also added to the disappointment of the boss: “That one is devastating for us.

“He has the same injury as Greg Cunningham and is going to be out for the best part of three or four months.

“Apart from Darnell today, these are not soft tissue injuries, which means it is not as if they are doing too much, they are injuries you can do nothing about, but the last thing we need to do is sit here and feel sorry for ourselves, because you are required to win and we have to win games.

“The last two performances have been really disappointing and frustrating and something we need to improve on,” he added.

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