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First Team News

Alex Neil: "We Didn't Cause Them Enough Problems"

1 November 2017

PNE boss Alex Neil felt North End didn't do enough on the attacking front tonight, but also pointed out the obscene injury list Neil now faces in defence.

Josh Earl and Calum Woods added to the injury woes as both were replaced at half-time, and the gaffer provided an update on the injuries and an explanation of them.

"The diffculty we've got is that the injuries aren't soft tissue injuries, so it's not muscle injuries or they're getting over-worked or getting tired - a lot of it is joint issues, knees in particular. You seen Calum's tackle in the first half, that's where his comes from - and then Josh Earl, when he plants his leg and looks to run, his knee then goes as well so at the moment, it looks like two medial ligament issues which is concerning.

"That leaves us with Darnell Fisher, Andy Boyle who in his first game, I thought equipped himself well tonight, and Kevin who made his first appearance tonight too, so it just shows how light we are in defence.

"We monitor the players extremely closely in terms of what their training schedules are and how much we put them through and what their loads are, and everybody is where they should be fitness wise and making sure they're fresh enough in the games and we're not exposing them to anything that will cause them any issues.

"If you look at the players at the top end of the pitch, they're covering a lot of ground and they're all fine so it's just extremely bad luck and I've never known anything like it during my time in football - to affect one position so badly, but we need to find a way to adapt and go on and try and win some matches."

A key moment in the game came not long after the first goal when Sean Maguire was halted in the box. Replays showed that it should have been a penalty - which could have been the turning point PNE needed in the game, however, Neil felt that the bad luck his side have been enduring does not legislate for the goals Neil labelled as 'disappointing'.

"We've got to look at the first goal which is disappointing. It's the first corner we've conceded directly from a corner this season, but equally we're missing most of our defenders.

"We get done with a poor corner which is frustrating because we've prided ourselves on defending corners all season.

"The second goal is a mistake from us and at that point, the way Aston Villa play and sit behind the ball afterwards and see the game out, we didn't give ourselves an opportunity to win the match."

Watch Alex's video in full for more reaction on tonight's defeat now.


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