Alex Neil says his side can be pleased with their efforts in the opening month of the campaign after drawing with Nottingham Forest in their final match before the September international break.
The Lilywhites put in a fine display at The City Ground but had to settle for a 1-1 draw after Albert Adomah equalised with 11 minutes to play, following an exquisite first half opener from North End’s makeshift striker on the day, Billy Bodin.
PNE have now picked up ten points from their first six Championship matches, as well as progressing through two Carabao Cup ties to set up the highly anticipated clash with Manchester City next month, and the manager agreed that his team have served up plenty of positives at this early stage of the campaign.
“I think we should be [pleased with the first month],” the gaffer told iFollow PNE post-match. “I think in terms of the performance, in terms of what we’ve served up and looking at the other teams that we’ve played against, I don’t think there’s anything that we’ve seen so far that we should fear.
“What we want to try to do is get a couple of bodies back, which will help us, and then really go and try to kick on.
“I think the players should be pleased with what they’ve served up so far; the games that we have lost, there’s been very little in them and it’s not as if we’ve been dominated by any means.”
The PNE boss was similarly impressed by his side’s display at the City Ground this afternoon, particularly in the first half, but admitted that the point they ultimately left with was a frustrating one given they had led at the break.
“I felt we did enough to win the game. I think first half we probably had four glorious chances really and we scored one of them, but I thought we came here, dominated the game, certainly the first half, and controlled the ball really well.
“Naturally, second half, they were going to come and play on top of us, which we expected, but the problem I’ve got at the moment is I haven’t got Sean [Maguire], I haven’t got Tom [Barkhuizen] and the only way to alleviate that really is to turn the ball and get in behind them.
“Unfortunately, today with the players that we had, that’s not how they play. I knew it was going to be an issue second half but it was just hoping that we could be probably a little bit braver in terms of trying to build and then trying to turn them with a bit of quality, which we didn’t do, or even just keep the ball at the top end of the pitch a little bit more, which I felt we struggled to do.
“I think our biggest frustration is the fact that they had one shot at goal, of note, and they score. Having said that, it looked offside to me as well. I’ve seen it, the lad looks as if he’s leaning offside, but we don’t get the decision.”
The manager also provided some clarity on the injuries sustained by Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen, in training and in the cup encounter against Hull City respectively.
“Tommy B, for the last two seasons, has played about 40 games each so he’s generally never injured. We actually rested him between games to make sure he was fresh and then he picks up a groin injury.
"Sean gets probably the strangest injury I’ve ever seen, which is so unfortunate for him. It’s in training and he hits a shot, it rebounds off two players and comes up and hits him in the eye. He’s got a bleed in the eye and we got it checked from a doctor and his pressure in that eye is double the pressure in the other eye, which means it’s quite serious.
“We needed to make sure we took precautions and for that reason he couldn’t make the game today. But the lads will dig in and do what they can and I felt today we put in a good performance.”
Watch more from the manager now on iFollow PNE.