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First Team News

Alex Neil Pleased To Progress To The Second Round

29 August 2020

First Team News

Alex Neil Pleased To Progress To The Second Round

29 August 2020

Preston North End manager Alex Neil was pleased with his side’s performance as they beat League Two side Mansfield Town 4-0 to progress to the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Tom Barkhuizen, Sean Maguire and Patrick Bauer all scored within the first 30 minutes at Deepdale before Josh Harrop sealed the victory in the second half.

The visitors had hit the post in the 11th minute, but from that point on it was North End who dominated the game.

Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, Alex said: “I thought we started a bit sloppy in probably the first ten, 15 minutes. Them hitting the post gave us a little bit of a scare.

“I thought we kicked into gear after that and I thought we posed a real threat. They were really aggressive in terms of how they played. They committed six players to our six players so all the space was in behind them.

“We worked on our movements in terms of getting in behind and that’s what two of the goals come from. The set play was also pleasing, something we worked on yesterday.

“It was a good performance. At the start of the second half we started a bit sloppy again, I thought we looked as if we took our foot off the gas which was frustrating. But again, we upped the pace, got a fourth goal, and then after that I thought we controlled the match.

“It’s pleasing and it’s always nice to win and nice to get through to the next round.”

The manager was particularly happy with the way the front four of Barkhuizen, Maguire, Harrop and Brad Potts set up, causing the Mansfield defence all sorts of problems.

Alex said: “Everybody’s spoke at length in terms of forward players, goals, creation and different things. I thought the lads that played today did well in that regard in terms of creating chances and obviously scoring goals.

“We’ve done a lot of work, we’ve been ready, and I just felt that the balance of today’s game was really suited to playing against the style that Mansfield have got and that proved to be the case.

“Mainly their aggression in terms of how they play a three, which means every time you drop, somebody comes with which leaves space in behind.

“The way we worked our goals and the way the ball stuck when it went up the top end of the pitch was pleasing.

“Against these teams, they can make it really difficult for you. I thought at times they were really quite aggressive and at set plays they looked dangerous. To get a clean sheet and score four and have some other opportunities within the game was good.”

Today’s cup tie was the first competitive game of the 2020/21 season, but PNE will now return to their pre-season schedule with three games in the coming week before the Championship opener in two weeks’ time.

Alex added: “This is a competitive game and we’ve got other lads who have served us very well over my time being here.

“We need to see where some of these lads are because they want to stake a claim, but they need to show what they can do and they need to make sure that when and if we need them to play, or if they’re going to play or deserve to play, that they’re ready to play.

“I think it’s important that we give some of these lads an opportunity to play and I thought today was an ideal opportunity to do so.

“We’ve had good variation in our games that we’ve got between now and the start of the season so that’s pleasing and we’re going to have a real tough week coming up with three Premier League teams coming up.

“We’ll still have to mix and match our squad a little bit to cover everybody in terms of minutes. I’m hopeful that we’ll be ready and we’ll be able to kick off the season in a good manner.”

You can watch Alex’s full interview on iFollow by clicking the video above.

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