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First Team News

Manager Frustrated But Focuses On The Positives

21 April 2018

Alex Neil was pragmatic in his assessment – in today’s game and where they are in the league table, as Norwich City held on for a point against a dominant North End side.

Heading into the game, the Lilywhites found themselves just three points off the Play-Off spots, and despite the disappointment of today’s stalemate, the gap now becomes two.

Post-match, although Alex admitted his frustration after the final whistle, there’s still cause for optimism heading into the final two games.

“We had numerous breakaways in the first half where we just didn’t really choose that right option and we limited Norwich to just a few chances,” said the manager.

“It was a baking hot day and in terms of the pressing game, it becomes difficult to do it in that heat but we created enough chances to win the game - we just didn’t take them when they came along.

“The players and fans are frustrated but what we’ve got to do is focus on the positives which is – we were three points off the Play-Off before the game, and now we’re two points off the Play-Offs with two games remaining and we’ve got a chance of getting there.

“If we’d have won today, and teams around us did, we could have still have been three points off with two games to go so that’s a positive which I have to take, but we’re disappointed we didn’t create our chances because we did enough to win the game.”

The manager confessed that today’s team selection was perhaps his hardest of the season, and opted to start with experience and bring on youth and legs as he explained to iFollow.

Alex continued: “Hunts came off with a hamstring at half-time so we had the legs of Ben Davies coming in - and I made two changes really early in the second half to give us a bit more impetus because we needed to force the issue, so you’re talking nearly 40 minutes with much more attacking and aggressive players, the chances were there but we just couldn’t put them in.

“Today’s team selection was the hardest of the season for me because there’s that many players performing well recently, but I went with experience to start with and youth, legs and enthusiasm as the game wore on.

“I thought the game plan worked because Norwich have got some good players, but we limited them to nothing really and we had opportunities ourselves going our way really early.

“I was happy with how the game went, we were just unfortunate that we didn’t take our chances which is difficult and they’ll be disappointed but we just need to keep going, we win and lose as a team and the lads gave us everything today, it’s just those fine margins of putting the ball in the net.”

All eyes are now on next Saturday’s huge game away to fellow Play-Off chasing Sheffield United, and Neil reiterated the importance of that game.

“Next week is now the main game as there are no opportunities after that” said Neil. “We need to win that one and if we do, we come to the Burton game with everything to play for.”

Watch the full interview on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above.


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