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First Team News

Endeavour Pleases Alex Neil

9 September 2017

Alex Neil was pleased with the effort, determination and spirit of his side this afternoon after North End continued with their unbeaten home start at Deepdale.

Sean Maguire's first competitive goal in a North End shirt on 23 minutes was equalled by Barnsley's Brad Potts just two minutes later, and with no other goal to report on at Deepdale, Neil's charges had to settle for just a point.

"I'm pleased with parts of the performance," Neil told iFollow after the final whistle.

"I thought early in the game we went more direct then we normally do because we're missing a few players who help us play through the middle areas. We looked at Barnsley's weaknesses and we felt we could get good quality crosses into the box and hopefully get on the end of things and our first goal typified that, it was well worked."

Maguire's goal was the least North End deserved in the opening exchanges, the only negative being the equaliser just two minutes later, and Neil was disappointed in North End's application in preserving their lead.

"I was pleased with the first 30 minutes and then in the 15 minutes leading up to half-time I thought we needed to pass the ball a bit more and show a bit more bravery and we didn't do that.

"In the second half, as the half went on we got better and better and the disappointing thing is, is that if anybody deserved to win the game it was us. We were pushing for the winner in the last ten minutes but that goal, whether it's a bit of quality or a better finish in the final third areas, just alluded us today."

Another positive the Lilywhites can take from today's game is the exploits of Maguire, who got off the mark with a well-executed header, and Neil praised the efforts of the Irish forward.

He continued: "I thought Sean had a good game. I opted to play him as a No. 10 because having watched Barnsley, if you try to play through central areas like Sunderland did for instance, Barnsley were capable of nicking it and counter attacking so we wanted a runner in there rather than a technician if you like and we wanted to work the ball into the flanks rather than play through the centre.

" I thought it worked in the main and we had the best chances in the game, it's frustrating we didn't get the win."

It's another game in which North End will argue they were the more dominant, and Neil took to iFollow to praise the endeavour of his side as they look to continue to make Deepdale a real fortress ahead of the Cardiff game on Tuesday.

"We've got a young team so I expect our fitness levels to be hard, but the one thing with this group is that they give you their all every single game.

"They've run themselves into the ground and that's what we expect from them. I just wish we could have tipped it off with the result they deserved.

“Obviously we’re back here on Tuesday and hopefully we’ll have a couple of bodies recovered for Tuesday and that will certainly help us in the style we like to play.”

Watch Alex's interview in full via iFollow as he talks about the return of John Welsh and the introduction of Stephy Mavididi.


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