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First Team News

Manager Frustrated With Lack Of Quality In Second Half

27 October 2018

Manager Alex Neil felt his side’s first half exploits weren’t matched in the second period in the game as the Millers battled back to stop North End from getting three points this afternoon.

Alex’s side went into the interval ahead and in control through Tom Barkhuizen’s 50th senior goal, but the visitors battled back early in the second half through Michael Smith on 55 minutes.

As much as the hosts tried in their attempts to get the winner, it would prove to be no avail as Paul Warne’s side held on for a 1-1 draw

“At times in their half of the pitch, in the first half we played some really nice stuff with the combinations of full backs and wide players,” assessed the manager post-match.

“However, we didn’t really do that in the second half which was the biggest frustration because if we’d have played as well as we did in the first half as we did in the second half, we would have won the game.

“In the second half they put two lads up front instead of one and went really direct and we didn’t deal with that as well as we would have liked. I thought our use of the ball - whether it be from wide players coming in - we didn’t release the ball quick enough.

"Our passing at times let us down and when we were trying to counter attack them, they were trying to counter us back so it became scrappy and we didn’t keep the ball in the top end of the pitch well enough and that was disappointing.”

North End now have a full seven days to prepare for their next outing, with a trip to Ipswich Town to come next Saturday, contrary to the previous week with three games in the space of seven days, and Alex allured to the fact that fatigue may have been a factor for his side today.

“We looked jaded as the game wore on as well which is understandable in quick succession” continued the manager. “We now need to recuperate and get ourselves focused for the next game. It’s five unbeaten which is the positive we can take from it.

“We brought Tom Clarke in ahead of Darnell Fisher today to cope with their aerial bombardment so we needed that strength, power and size to cope with that. I just would have liked to see us play a little bit more in the second half.

"Even when we did open the pitch up, our touch or maybe our ball wasn’t good enough and there was little silly decisions from us which change the dynamic of the game at times, and when you’re playing teams like Rotherham, they can be key moments in the game. 

“We freshened it up towards the end of the game to get us impetus but it wasn’t to be and our quality wasn’t good enough. If there was any team going on to win it would have been us but I don’t think we did enough to win today.”

To hear more on today’s game from Alex as he also talks about the controversial disallowed goal, head to iFollowPNE now.

 


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