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First Team News

Neil Delighted At ‘Courage And Bravery’ Of Players

3 March 2018

The endeavour and determination of his players was something Alex Neil was most pleased about when he spoke to iFollow post-match.

The gaffer was speaking after North End marked Gentry Day in style with a 3-1 victory over Lancashire opposition in Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium. 

It was a 90 minute performance which Neil marked as being ‘excellent’ and reiterated the fact that North End were the better side even in the first half when they went 1-0 down. 

“Our performance even in the first half was excellent even though we were trailing at half-time," continued Neil who cut a pleased figure post-match.

"We spoke to the lads about being brave and I thought we showed so much courage on the ball and we kept plugging away. We worked really hard this week trying to beat Bolton and the lads did it perfectly well.

“They did it well in the first half - and goals change games and to show the work ethic and quality to win the game - the players deserve so much for that.

“I was frustrated that we went into the final third and we didn’t really create enough considering how much good balls the front players had.

We spoke about them not being safe and taking risks at the top end of the pitch and making sure we don’t change our game plan - we did that against Ipswich and that’s a big regret of mine, so we wanted the players to be more courageous on the ball. 

“Its easy to say that - but it’s another to do it, under pressure with a great following so I think the players performed under pressure really well because it was a great day all round."

With just 25 minutes remaining and the game at 1-1, Neil showed his faith in Sean Maguire by bringing him on for the latter stages of the match - who played his first game for the club after his four month lay-off with injury.

His faith was more than justified with Maguire coming on and grabbing a brace which ultimately secure the three points for Alex Neil’s men on Gentry day.

“It doesn’t get much better for him and we’re delighted for him because he’s worked so hard,” continued Neil on the Irishman.

“Paul Gallagher came in and made a big difference today also as did a lot of players so it was really pleasing.

“We spoke about pace on the flanks and making these diagonal runs and everything we spoke about, they took it on board.

“The most important thing is, if we didn’t win this game, the Bristol City game isn’t as exciting but we’ve now gave ourselves an opportunity with two really big games coming up this week, and the lads are firing and they just need to make sure that they take one of these type of performances and do it in them games.”

Watch Alex Neil's full interview on iFollow now. 



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