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First Team News

Alex Happy With ‘Resilience’ From His Young Side

20 October 2018

Apologies, this video is unvailable.

Manager Alex Neil was relatively pleased with a point at the KCOM Stadium but acknowledged that his young side were naive in their play at times during today’s 1-1 draw with Hull City.

Injuries and suspensions meant the manager’s average starting age today was just 23, with 28-year-old goalkeeper Chris Maxwell the oldest of the XI that started the match.

The manager admitted that his side were not at their best today, but after enduring setbacks before a ball  was even kicked, Alex took heart from today’s 1-1 draw.

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“It is a good point for us,” he said. “We’ve come off the back of some games this season where we’ve played really well and not come away with anything. 

“I thought the game ebbed and flowed a little bit. We started brightly and were the team on top for the first 15 minutes.

"We had a couple of opportunities and then I thought Hull grew into the game and were better than us until half-time. In the second half they came out the better side and we really had to dig in during that spell. We made a couple of changes and I thought we improved. They scored during what I thought was our best spell in the game.”

North End fell behind with just five minutes left on the clock through Jarrod Bowen’s spot kick, and although the Scotsman was disappointed in the manner in which the goal was conceded, he praised the resilience of his side in getting back into the game through Louis Moult's injury time equaliser. 

Alex added: “It’s another sloppy goal whether it’s a penalty or not and we defended really well up until that point.

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“We’ve not been resilient enough at times this season in terms of making sure we get something from the game but we did that today, and we even had opportunities late in the game where we could have nicked it. 

“They played a shape which meant you couldn’t lock onto them which made it a bit end to end. We went on to try and win the game and we’ve managed to get a point. 

“Some of their chances came from us through us giving the ball away and when that happens it builds momentum for them, and it’s unforced errors from us but we’ve got a lot of young players who are going to make mistakes.”

The manager was forced to make four changes from the 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic a fortnight ago. Ben Pearson missed out through suspension, Tom Barkhuizen and Tom Clarke were missing due to a knocks and Callum Robinson was struck down with illness at the last minute.

“Obviously Callum and Tom [Clarke] were pencilled in to play the game,” he continued “Tom’s trained but been unwell this week. He’s trained Friday but found himself having an after affect this morning when he got up and Callum Robinson struggled to sleep last night so we’ve had to make a few enforced changes. 

“What it did was it brought our average age down considerably and you could certainly see that at times as we may have been a bit naive but we got a point and showed some real resilience.”

Watch Alex Neil's full interview on iFollowPNE now.

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