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First Team News

Gaffer On 'Frustrating Day'

22 December 2018

It was a frustrating day for Alex Neil at Hillsborough as PNE were beaten 1-0, after being reduced to ten men after 26 minutes.

There was an element of the unknown going into the game for the PNE boss, as the hosts announced the departure of their manager on Friday evening; with caretaker boss Lee Bullen making five changes and bringing a change of system for the hosts.

Speaking to iFollowPNE after the game, the gaffer said: “It was a really frustrating day today. They moved their manager on yesterday afternoon and then they bring some players back that they haven’t had all season and play a different system than they have done in the last ten games.

“Then we get a man sent off and then we get another player injured. At the moment we have Ethan Walker on the bench who’s 16.

“We’re down to the bare bones at the moment. Lads have got and deserved a lot of credit for the run we were on and today was a really frustrating day for us because we’ve lost a point or three points; and that’s solely by our own doing today.”

The gaffer believes the players deserve credit for their performances during the period of injury problems, with Wednesday being limited to very few clear chances despite having a numerical advantage for over an hour.

“Going down to ten men, the difficulty we’ve then got is Louis Moult as a striker, he then isn’t able to play the second half because he’s injured, he’s done his hamstring.

“We’ve got Lukas up there who is a young kid. We end up playing Graham Burke and Tom Barkhuizen, trying to play as a front two towards the end and neither of them, really, are proper centre forwards.

“It just shows where we are at the minute in terms of injuries. We’ve been really stretched and we’ve done remarkably well to win the games that we have.

“The frustrating thing today is they had a header that hit the post in the first half and then one where Declan saves it in the second half, apart from that, they haven’t really had anything.

“Our frustrations are that we’ve switched off for a short corner which we should have had two players go on the ball but we didn’t, and the ball ends up in the back of the net and that was the difference. It was never going to be a great game once it went down to ten vs 11 because we need to stay in the match.”

After the game, the travelling North End faithful stayed behind to clap off the players for their efforts and the manager knows that his players will give everything they have, every week.

“The fact is they can always guarantee that from our lads. They give it their all.

“We did rally towards the end and we did try and force something. It was always going to be tough at that point, we didn’t have a recognised striker on at that stage.

“Tom Barkhuizen although he’s played up there before, he’s a wide player for us but we’ve got him up there doing a job. It was just a really frustrating day today, sometimes it’s just difficult to put into words.”

You can watch the full interview with Alex Neil on iFollow now. 


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