PNE boss Alex Neil took heart from his side’s character in the second half as North End initially battled back from two goals down to make it 2-2, only for the Lilywhites to lose the game in the final few minutes.
“That’s a positive and I’ve said that to the lads afterwards,” evaluated the manager on his side’s initial comeback. “For 35, 40 minutes, we’ve turned the screw.
"For the first half we’ve set up quite different and we looked a threat on the break. We set up to contain them which we did but when we get punctured and they score, we’ve actually got a back five in place and they’d managed to slide it through all of them which is really disappointing.
“In the second half again, we don’t start well but the way we performed for that 40 minutes - the exact same messages were put in place at half-time but for some reason we don’t do that for five minutes of the second half and concede from a set play and then we seem to look at each other and that’s the disappointing part. We then played really well and get ourselves back into the game at 2-2, looked like the team that were going to win it but when things are going against you, we get done with the third goal.”
“As I said to the lads afterwards, they’re the ones who dug themselves out of the mess at 2-0 and we’re more than capable of doing that but what we need to do is find consistency and stop conceding sloppy goals and those goals are killing us at the moment.”
The 40 minute spell in which the all-yellow Lilywhites took the game to the hosts came off the back of Chris Basham’s goal early in the second half which extended Chris Wilder’s side's lead.
From then on, PNE battled back in the form of Callum Robinson and Daniel Johnson who found the net to get themselves back in contention, but David McGoldrick’s goal late on condemned Alex Neil’s side to defeat.
“Where they delivered in certain spells of the game I think more than merited getting something out of the game,” added the manager "but we need to be a bit better with game management sometimes because although we’re at 2-2 and we need to probe for a winner, we also need to be cautious.
“It’s difficult to find the words as there’s no point in ranting and raving and making them feel worse about the game - nobody goes on a pitch to not play well but when you do play well, you expect to get something out of the game but that then builds resilience and a bit of character. What would be worse is if we walked out and we had been poor for the whole game, what that second half showed was complete capability and that we’re more than capable of good performances and winning games.
"Doing these interviews all of the time, I feel like I’m repeating myself and some people will watch this and say stop saying the same things which is fine, but that’s what it is, getting that consistency because it’s difficult when you know it’s in there, it’s just getting it out."
Alex Neil's interview will be available to watch on iFollow PNE now.