Interim head coach Frankie McAvoy was pleased with his Preston North End side’s second half improvement against Stoke City and felt they may have taken all three points from the bet365 Stadium.
The Lilywhites battled against the Potters and dominated the play in the second half, but like their hosts in the first half, ultimately could not find a way through.
Frankie told iFollow PNE he was disappointed with the team’s display in the opening 45 minutes, but highlighted their increased performance levels after the break.
“Any point is a positive point after you’ve come off the loss that we had last week, which was disappointing,” said the interim head coach.
“Today, I thought we started off okay for the first 15 minutes, then the latter part of the first half, I thought we lost our way a bit, our press wasn’t good enough, and they started to pick through us, far, far too easily.
“At half-time, I had a good chat with them and just told them it wasn’t good enough, it needs to be better than that, and to be fair, we fixed it.
“I thought we were a lot, lot better second half, we allowed our wing backs to get higher up the pitch, we allowed Alan Browne to go and hit the box more at ease with Ryan supporting. I thought Ben Whiteman dealt with Powell a lot easier as well. Over the piece, I thought second half was pleasing.
“We had opportunities to probably win the game, but I look at the game over the piece, and I thought first half we didn’t do well enough if I’m honest. I’m disappointed we’ve not taken the three, but it’s a positive point, as far as I’m concerned.”
Frankie was forthright in his view that the first half display fell below standards and revealed that he made that clear to his players.
“Any clean sheet is good for confidence and morale. But first half, we didn’t do well enough – second half, a lot better and a lot more pleasing and that’s more of what we want to see, hopefully turning that into three points rather than one.
“Our task is to do the best for Preston North End, that’s what we’ve got to do. I thought we let ourselves down, we let ourselves down first half, we didn’t do what we agreed and set out we were going to do.
“Sometimes you get lost in the moment and try to do your own thing at times, but what we’ve got to try and do is make sure we’re disciplined and what we’re asked to do, to give us the best opportunity and chance to win the three points. Second half, miles better, that’s what we’re wanting from them.
Despite that, Frankie still had praise for his defensive unit on the day.
“Sepp’s a young man, he’s 19-years-of-age, he’s learning his trade, Jordan is 22 and is as well. They’re young boys. To be fair, they’ve come in, they’ve done great. I thought Andy Hughes particularly did well for us second half as well. The two guys, the wing backs, I thought were a lot, lot more progessive in the second half, compared to what they were in the first half.”
Having overseen four games in charge and with another four now to go until the season’s end, Frankie wants to end the campaign on a high.
“There were eight games when we were asked to take this opportunity on. Four games down, a win, two draws and a loss, it’s a decent return if we’re honest, we’ve taken five points.
“We’ll go and try and deal with Derby Tuesday night the best way that we can to try to win the game.”
Watch Frankie’s post-match thoughts in full by clicking on the video above.