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First Team News

Gaffer Rues Lapses In Concentration

17 August 2019

Manager Alex Neil was pleased with how Preston North End performed for most of the game against Swansea City but was left ruing some lapses of concentration in the remaining parts of the match as the hosts came from behind to win 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium.

Joe Rafferty scored within the opening 11 minutes to give the Lilywhites a deserved lead but Borja Baston drew the hosts level against the run of play, before scoring the decisive goal in the second goal, immediately after Daniel Johnson had cancelled out George Byers’ strike from the spot.

Alex explained to iFollow PNE post-match that the display had been among the best he had seen from his team away from home during his time as manager but pointed out the finer details in the performance which ultimately saw them lose out in South Wales.

“I think it’s probably as good as we’ve played away from home since I’ve been here in terms of controlling the ball,” the gaffer said.

“Obviously, we’ve had good results away from home, but in terms of dictating play, controlling the ball, creating opportunities, getting in the final third, having chances to score, I’d probably argue that’s as good as we’ve ever done.

“The timing of the [Swansea’s first] goal is a bit of a killer because we go into half-time 1-1 when we really should be about 3-0 ahead.

“I think their second goal’s just bad defending from us; the lad just dips in, runs in behind us, we don’t match the run and then they get down the sides, our centre backs get detached and we’ve got a problem.

“From that point, we need to get ourselves back in the game – we get a penalty and I’m thinking, ‘Now we can build ourselves back into it.’ And within 30 seconds of kick-off, we get done by not matching the full back. It’s just really frustrating because I think for 90 per cent of the game, I thought we were excellent.

“The lads are gutted because they know when they’ve played well and just key moments cost us today.”

Next up for PNE is the visit of Stoke City to Deepdale on Wednesday night and the manager said that the North End players couldn’t dwell on this result too long, with the priority now to focus on returning to PR1 in a positive vein in a few days’ time.

“We’re all professionals so the main priority and result for us is winning the game – we didn’t do that.

“Although the lads will take a bit of comfort from their performance, it certainly won’t ease their pain, because when you play as well as that, you need to win and we didn’t.

“That’s where frustration comes in because when they’re poor, sometimes they don’t deserve anything, but we certainly were far from being poor and it was a good performance.

“The game’s done now, it’ll feel sore tonight and probably tomorrow, and then we’ll get ready for the next one. I think today, 90 per cent of it was very good and we just had a couple of lapses of concentration and it cost us, so that’s something we’re going to have to make sure we bounce back from.”

Watch the full post-match interview with the gaffer on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above.


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