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Alex Neil "We'll Focus On The Positives And Go Again"

14 October 2017

PNE boss Alex Neil acknowledged Fulham's last minute equaliser was a hammer blow to his side but insisted his charges would not dwell on the individual mistakes made this afternoon.

North End were well in the ascendency when referee Darren England blew his whistle for the half-time interval thanks to goals from Jordan Hugill and Sean Maguire, but a penalty converted by Oliver Norwood and a last gasp equaliser from Denis Odoi in the second half gave Fulham an undeserved share of the spoils at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

Speaking after the game, the PNE boss could not hide his emotions when he spoke to iFollow after the game.

After the whistle, Neil said: "We're frustrated and we're disappointed for the amount we've put in the game and what we've got out of it because I thought we deserved the three points.

"We had some great opportunities to put the game to bed which we didn't take - we've given away a penalty which I'm not sure is a penalty but I haven't seen it back yet so maybe it will be but equally leading up to that defensively, on that side, we should have done better as we've committed ourselves and there was no need.

"For their second goal it's one aimless ball into the box. However,  It was 95 minutes and there was five minutes on the board and it went into 95 40 odd seconds so why that was continued to play I don't know, but it's a hopeless ball in and we should deal with it - we'd dealt with them all day, then we make an error and they score a goal so yes we're really disappointed."

The return of the domestic action following the International break also saw the return of Ben Pearson who managed 60 minutes this afternoon after coming back from injury.

Today's game also saw the return of Calum Woods in place of Darnell Fisher who was suspendedfor just his second game since his long term injury lay off, and with such a high intensity game plan from both teams, the Lilywhites were out on their feet towards the end of the game.

On returning players, Neil added: "If you look at the squad - Ben Pearson's come back in and played 60 minutes which was great, Calum's had to come in with Darnell Fisher being suspended. That's Calum's second game since he's come back so he was dead on his feet at the end.

"Tom (Barkhuizen's) had cramp as he's not trained much in the last week as he rolled his ankle in the last game. Sean Maguire does his hamstring and I thought losing Ben and Sean in particular was a hindrance for us, but equally, Josh Harrop probably had three one on ones with the 'keeper. We didn't take advantage of it, so there's not much more I can say, other than we're really disappointed for the players.

"We attacked them and put ourselves in an unbelievable position but ultimately we didn't see it through and that's all that matters."

Such was the manner in how the game panned out this afternoon, Neil admitted that there was little that could be said in the dressing room that would have been a benefit post-match, but was adamant that the game would not prove to be a negative long term.

"If I'm being honest I didn't really say anything to them after the game," added the Scotsman. "I think as you can probably tell I'm a passionate person when it comes to my football and my team and I didn't really want to say anything that I'd regret so what I said to them was listen, it happens and we done what we could and we made an error and it's cost us but we'll go again and we will focus on the positives on Monday but there's that much disappointment in the changing room there's no need for me to add to it or make anybody feel anymore worse then what they do.

"This squad have been first class so far and I'll back them - they'll make mistakes - it happens, I'll make mistakes so we'll deal with them both together.

See Alex's full interview on iFollow now by clicking on the video above.

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