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First Team News

Gaffer On Change In Mentality

19 February 2018

One key change the manager has made to the squad at Deepdale since his arrival in the summer is the mentality of the dressing room, something that the gaffer feels is showing more than ever in recent weeks.

Alex Neil took charge of the Lilywhites back in June and feels there is a real belief and determination in his squad now more than ever.

On the change in the thinking of his players, the gaffer said: 

"We've got a different mentality from what we had at the start of the season, and what I mean by that is that any game that we don't win, there is an air of disappointment in the changing room.

"I think that's really healthy, even at Brentford when we went down to ten men, although we thought we had done well to hold on and get a point, you could still sense a bit of disappointment in the players.

"It was similar with Wolves, we want to win the game, we don't want to draw, we've drawn far too many games this year and the frustrating thing is sometimes you draw when you set out to be defensive but we've been anything but defensive.

"We've been really aggressive in the way we've played and we've tried to be on the front foot and forcing the opposition back but it just so happens that a lot of games that we haven't managed to have that final bit of quality to finish it off.

Next up is a trip to Aston Villa who currently sit third in the division, and after holding the league leaders to a draw at Deepdale at the weekend, the PNE boss reiterated that his side don't fear any side in this division.

"There is no club in this league that we should look at and think we would be happy to take a point.

"I think there are certain situations in certain games where when the game has ended and you maybe haven't played well, you're delighted with a point based on what has happened in the game.

"But before the start of any game before a ball is kicked, we want to win. We are not there to draw so I think that's the next bit for us in terms of making that final transition into being a really top side.

The last time the two sides clashed saw a 2-0 defeat for the Lilywhites, with the fixture coming at the peak of the defensive injury crisis at Deepdale, and the gaffer knows what to expect this time around.

On Tuesday night's hosts, he continued: "They've got a group of players that have predominantly all played in the Premier League. They all get paid vast sums of money and they've invested heavily in the squad. If they weren't up at the top end of the division you would be asking questions, but they are a good side.

"They know what they are doing, they are more of a counter-attacking team, they are not a dictator of the ball the way Wolves would be.

"A lot of their games they've maybe had less possession than some of the opposition but they've got some real quality players, they've got guys who can hurt you.

"We got caught that way the last time we played them as well, we gave the ball away in a silly area and they punished us. We need to make sure that we guard against that and we are going to have to perform very well.

"As recent results have shown, certainly on Saturday, they can be beaten so we need to go there with the confidence that we can do that."

Hear more from the gaffer on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above.

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