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Alex Neil On Blackburn Rovers Defeat

24 November 2020

Alex Neil refused to blame Joe Rafferty’s red card for his Preston North End side’s defeat to Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale.

Match Reports

Preston North End vs Blackburn Rovers Match report

24 November 2020

Adam Armstrong scored from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time after the Lilywhites defender was sent off for bringing down Sam Gallagher in the penalty area, and Ben Brereton and Tyrhys Dolan extended the scoreline after the break.

Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, Alex said: “I don’t want to talk about the red card as if it’s unfortunate or not our fault. We don’t defend the ball into a player at the halfway line and then wait till he gets into the box then to bring him down and get a man sent off.

“In the first half, because of the set-up at the moment, we don’t really have the personnel to be building out from the back. We tried to put it forward, we don’t keep it alive enough at the top end of the pitch in the first half, which makes it difficult for our midfield to pick up any scraps in the middle.

“We knew Blackburn were going to have the ball, I think they’ve got the second highest possession in the league currently, and we knew that that wasn’t going to happen.”

Alex pointed out that North End had a chance through Daniel Johnson in the minute leading up to the visitors’ opening goal, which came on the counter attack.

“For all their possession, I think their best chance was with Armstrong with a bit of individual play, chops onto the edge, we get a block in and then arguably we’ve the best chance of the half, right prior to the sending off.

“We don’t do well enough with the chance, within three passes, their player just basically runs past us at the halfway line and we get a man sent off. At that point it becomes extremely difficult, particularly with our shortage of full backs as it currently stands.

“We’ve a lack of options at the moment, we’ve got young Lewis Coulton on the bench, he’s an U18 player so to put him into that type of environment with ten men is just completely unfair and that’s why I wouldn’t do it.”

Alex explained that his options are currently limited with eight senior players out through injury, with Alan Browne and Joe Rafferty also out through suspension.

“With what we’ve got currently available and the number of injuries we’ve got, that’s the best way for us to play to give us the best chance to get something out of the game.

“The simple fact is when we go down to ten men, that game plan is absolutely gone at that point, and the best we could hope for is to get to the last 15 minutes with 1-0 and then we can maybe have a rally and go to try to get something out of the game.

“That’s the hand that we’re dealt, so I’m not going to sit here and cry about it, we just need to get on with it. We’ve got a tough game, we’ll have no full backs available, but we’ll need to come up with something that gives us an opportunity and a chance to go and try to do something.”

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