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First Team News

Gaffer Delighted with Perfect Response

30 January 2018

Following a difficult spell on the pitch, Alex Neil was looking for his side to put the wrongs of the previous games behind them, and the gaffer felt they did that tonight in 'emphatic' fashion.

Post-match, Neil stated: “From the last two games, I’ve thought if we perform like that we’re not going to achieve what we want but I thought tonight, certainly looking at that performance, we’ve got real optimism and hope that we can go on and have a good end to the season.

“Looking at the game second half, we could have scored more. We had some really good chances around about the edge of the box. We’ve been disappointed with our last two performances, certainly goal mouth action and that’s something I wanted to address and we did that emphatically tonight so that’s really pleasing.”

Neil’s side certainly addressed their concerns in front of goal with Billy Bodin, Tom Barkhuizen and Daniel Johnson all getting on the scoresheet tonight to give North End a comfortable victory away at the City Ground.

Due to recent speculation, the manager decided not to play Jordan Hugill tonight as Neil felt ‘he wasn’t in the right frame of mind’ to play; so instead, Callum Robinson led the line for the Lilywhites tonight, and the gaffer was pleased with the performance from Robinson, and also had high praise for Bodin who grabbed his first goal in PNE colours tonight. 

“We were much more free flowing when we’ve got somebody like Callum Robinson as he interchanges with the wide players and is much more fluent,” explained the gaffer.

“However, that sometimes doesn’t work if the ball doesn’t stick at the top end of the pitch, and thankfully our front three fought the corner in terms of keeping the ball up there and made sure there was good movement, good touches, so all in all, it was a really pleasing performance.

“I was really pleased for Billy. When you come to another club, there’s always a settling in period where you need to get to know the lads, you need to move house and it’s a lot of changes to your life which people don’t really know about. They expect you to go on the pitch and expect you to perform so tonight for Billy, it was a fantastic performance from him.   

“We performed very well. We said before the game that all the different aspects that I talk about with tactics, shape and lines, that’s a small percentage of why we won the game, but it’s mainly good players who win the games and we’ve got good players and they showed that to me tonight and I was extremely pleased with them.

“We completely smothered them. We made them work the line more. We were too deep in the first half and that was something we discussed and we needed to make sure we locked them in with their full backs better and we certainly did that second half.” 

Watch Alex's full interview on iFollow now. 


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