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First Team News

A Tale Of Two Halves For Alex Neil

13 January 2018

Alex Neil felt his side played ‘pretty football’ in the first half, but ‘effective football’ in the second as North End battled back to earn a point at The Den.

The Lilywhites found themselves a goal behind at the break through Aiden O’Brien who fired the hosts in front two minutes from the break.

Although it was a half-time scoreline that North End would have felt aggrieved by after controlling the game and dominating possession, they rarely troubled Millwall’s shot stopper, Jordan Archer, and Neil admitted to iFollow after the game that he was frustrated with how his side performed in the first 45.

“I wasn’t best pleased at half-time,” said the Scotsman post-match. “I felt that we didn’t follow instructions as well as we normally do but I thought second half, as always this group rallies, and they worked really hard second half - and if anyone was going to win it second half - it was going to be us.

"But it’s a difficult place to come and when you’re 1-0 down, getting a point at a difficult venue was a good result.

“For all of our good possession and passing - we didn’t trouble them too often in the first half whereas in the second half - we moved it quicker - we had more purpose to our play. We got it wide and got balls in the box and I think sometimes when you try to move the ball and keep it well you can be guilty of literally just keeping possession but that doesn’t win the game.

“We stepped it up in the second half and had more opportunities. We battled today and it was no more than what we deserved.”

North End’s equaliser came ten minutes from time through Callum Robinson who met a brilliant cross from Greg Cunningham down the left hand side to level the scores to earn another point for Alex Neil’s men.

The gaffer reserved special praise for stand in full back Alan Browne this afternoon, who formed part of the back four with Neil unable to call upon a recognised right back in the side.

He continued: “I thought Alan did great. Injuries haven’t been kind to us again today and we had no real right full backs really who were match fit and ready to play.

"We’ve missed Paul Huntington who, when you come to the likes of Millwall, that’s his type of game where he can go and dominate aerially and get us higher up the pitch in terms of a physical presence so all in all, I thought the lads did well.

“The defence has been an issue for us for the majority of the season but Alan was excellent today.

"He had real energy, he was aggressive and with him playing out of position, he did really well.”

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

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