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First Team News

Alex Neil On Leeds United Defeat

18 September 2018

North End boss Alex Neil was left frustrated by his side's attacking play at Elland Road, after a positive start to the game ultimately ended in defeat for the Lilywhites.

The hosts’ first goal came after a fairly even opening 37 minutes at Elland Road with North End starting the brighter with Callum Robinson notably going close early on.

However, the manager thought Liam Cooper’s goal eight minutes from half-time was a real blow for North End, with Cooper managing to squeeze the ball into the net from a corner. 

In his post-match interview with iFollow PNE, Alex said: We were a bit unfortunate with one or two opportunities we did have early on but we gave the ball away sloppily a couple of times in the 20 minute mark and from that point of view it encouraged Leeds a bit and the game became stretched. 

“The disappointing thing is, for the first goal I thought Callum was fouled on the edge of the box but to then concede from a set play is really frustrating. We know how important the first goal is, certainly for us at the moment, and to get done with one goal in the box is extremely frustrating because at that point we’ve got to go for it even more because the game is running away from us at that point.

“We came here and adopted a high risk strategy and pressed like we did in the Cup where we won, purely because when opportunities came along we made good use of the ball and scored vital goals, but tonight we didn’t do that.

"I thought we started the game really well and for the first 18 minutes of the match I thought we were the better side. We nicked the ball in good areas which allowed us to go and counter.” 

North End began the second half just as they started the first half but the manager again pointed to a lack of creativity in the build up which he felt gave Leeds the upper hand.

“Second half we started the game really well,” the Scotsman continued. 

“We had a couple of opportunities to break but the use of our ball in terms of build up play was poor at times, and what ends up happening is when they nick it in front of you it puts pressure on us and the second goal killed the game.”

On the second goal which saw Tyler Roberts score, Alex said, “It’s a straight ball into the channel, we get done with it and the boy scores the goal.

“We broke five or six times from them but we just didn’t really do enough of it and if you don’t carry that threat to hurt them, that allows them to try and punish you going the other way.

“It’s disappointing but the reality is, is that we need to snap out of it, and snap out of it fast."

“If that does go in, it gives us a real lift for the remainder of the game. Up until the 74th minute there wasn’t much in it but once the second goal goes in, it takes the wind out of our sails and it’s then a case of making sure we keep ourselves in tact for Saturday.”

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