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First Team News

Alex Neil: “We Didn’t Do The Basics Well Enough”

3 August 2019

Preston North End manager Alex Neil felt his side didn’t do enough to earn anything from their opening day clash with Millwall at The Den.

Match Reports

Millwall vs Preston North End Match Report

3 August 2019

Speaking to iFollow PNE after the 1-0 loss to the Lions, the PNE boss felt his side had plenty of the ball, but the difference was that the hosts took the one clear cut chance they created.

“I am naturally disappointed we lost the game,” he said. “In the first half we didn’t do the basics well enough. I though [Matt] Smith, in terms of turning that first ball up to us, caused us problems. Having said that the goal comes from us giving the ball away.

“We played the ball away down the right-hand side, Alan [Browne] tried to turn the ball around the corner, we lose possession and then we don’t stop the cross coming in and we don’t get out to the ball quick enough.

“After that, Declan has one more save to make in the game. They had some pressure without really creating any opportunities; I thought in the first half we had chances, when we played the ball down the side and when Seani should have scored with a header and we had a couple of penalty shouts in the game.

“It was one of those games where we have come away from home, been okay at best and they have had one opportunity and scored it.

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“I don’t think there was a lot in the game.

“It is a difficult venue to come to, but I think if we do the basics better which is win our headers, pick up first and second balls that would allow us to go forward more.

“We didn’t have much of a cutting edge today, even though we created two or three chances in the game.

“Goals change games and if Alan Browne’s early effort goes in then the half-time team talk is very different.”

The gaffer tried to make game-changing substitutions, but felt his side failed to move the ball quick and wide enough to be effective: “As the game wore on we tried to chase it a little bit. They narrowed and compacted and we wanted to work down the sides of them, but I don’t think the changes effected the game in a positive way.

“It is disappointing. We wanted to get off to a positive start, we didn’t, we lost the game and we need to make sure that we rally and get ready for next week.

“We had a couple of opportunities, we didn’t take them; they took theirs when it came along and that was the difference in the game.

“We want to play better than we did in the game today, I didn’t think it was a good performance. [After the substitutions] We didn’t work the ball wide enough and get the ball to the byline and put crosses into the box, we didn’t do enough of that and we came off second best and that is disappointing.

“We know we didn’t perform as well as we can and we are going to have to improve for the next game, as that becomes the most important one and we have to try and win it. It wasn’t a great game; Millwall will probably see it differently and rightly so, because they won, but for us I don’t think we got into a rhythm quick enough.

“There were too many miss-placed passes, too many turnovers of possession, not enough good decisions at the top end of the pitch when we got into good areas and if you combine all those things, that is a real problem and that is the story of the day for me.”

And he was disappointed for the travelling supporters, with over 1,200 having made the trip to south east London.

“It was a great following and it is disappointing for them.

“The last time we were here we performed really well and we set up in the same format. We got in enough front-facing opportunities, but the quality we showed that day certainly wasn’t there today.

“We’ll take it on the chin, lick our wounds and get ready to go again next week,” he added.


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