Daniel Johnson said the contrasting nature of the two halves which saw Preston North End and AFC Bournemouth play out an entertaining 1-1 draw was down to the Lilywhites looking for the right balance in defence and attack.
The Cherries saw more of the ball in the first half and went in ahead at the break thanks to Arnaut Danjuma’s strike, but DJ was the man on the target in the second half, curling home brilliantly with less than 20 minutes to go, to earn North End a well-deserved point.
When asked whether the visitors had been shown too much respect in the opening 45 minutes, North End’s No.11 told iFollow PNE: “A little bit of both, showing them too much respect and probably not getting the balance right between when to drop and when to sweep the line.
“As everyone knows, if the backline drops, we can’t really get the press on and that’s what we’re all about, getting the press on and making the opposition feel uncomfortable.
“We didn’t really get the balance right first half, but I thought we did it terrifically in the second half.
“First half, we didn’t really get into the game. It’s fair to say they were probably the better side. We were a bit too deep and they just controlled the half. But second half, we really showed what we’re about.”
To inspire that change, what had the manager said to the players at the break?
“Just to show a bit more bravery on the ball and to show what we’re about,” DJ added. “We know they’re a good team, they’ve got some good individual players, but we’ve got some good players as well and we’re a good team.
“It was just about showing them what we can do and emphasise what our strategy and what are capabilities were.”
The midfielder said that Ched Evans’ all-action style at the top end of the pitch was key in forcing the error from the Cherries’ defence that led to his equalising goal.
“It’s always nice to score a goal like that because I think that’s my bread and butter, to be honest.
“As we all know, when we play out to Ched and it’s good quality, he’s going to keep the majority of it alive, he’s going to win his fair share, and he’s done that in the second half a lot better than in the first half.
“But to be fair to him, we were probably too deep and the midfield couldn’t get as close as we did in the second half to him. Ched’s going to fight and scrap for every ball and it puts us on the front foot then if he can keep it alive.
“As you see with the goal, he keeps it alive, their defender makes a mistake and we pounce on it and get the equaliser.”
North End now face a free midweek and Johnson said that will be important in allowing for additional time to tweak things on the training pitch.
“It’s going to be massive to be honest. Getting the balance right of getting rest in and also getting ready for the next game.
“We haven’t been able to train for four weeks now, getting a few training sessions together, so I think this week’s going to be really, really important for us – get the rest for the majority of the boys that have played a lot of the games, but also make sure that we’re ready for the next run of games to come up.”
Watch more from DJ on iFollow PNE.