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First Team News

Frankie: “It Was The Least We Deserved”

27 November 2021

Frankie McAvoy felt a point against high-flying Fulham was the least his Preston North End side deserved on a bitterly-cold afternoon at Deepdale.

The Lilywhites fell behind in the first half, but were much the more dominant team in the second period of the game, drawing level on 72 minutes through substitute Ched Evans.

PNE could have taken all three points from the leaders on another day, but nevertheless a point was  pleasing outcome for the head coach.

“I think with our second half performance, it was probably the least we deserved,” he said. “I know there’s a bit of controversy with our goal, but if it’s a bit fortunate then I think it was the least we deserved.

“We had a game plan that we felt was the best way to go and get points from Fulham. Teams that have gone toe to toe with them, gone really aggressive to begin with, have ended up with heavy defeats.

“We just needed to make sure that we were always in the game, no matter what happened. Obviously we didn’t want to concede an early goal which obviously comes from a wide free-kick which is disappointing for us, but I felt we were always threatening to be honest.

“Even in the first half at times with Emil [Riis], we had good opportunities in terms of him breaking into the box. But in the second half, we knew at 1-0 with 45 minutes to go, let’s go and get a wee bit higher up the pitch, get right at them, get in their faces and go and try and see if we can go and win the game.

“I felt that we were a lot better when we did that in the second half and we put Fulham under a lot of pressure at times. They struggled to get up the pitch in the second half and, as I said, I thought it was the least that the players deserved was a point.”

Frankie opted for Riis and Sean Maguire up top from the start against the Cottagers, but coming off the bench with a goal for the second game in a row was Evans, who followed up his midweek header at Middlesbrough with the equaliser today.

“He’s a big player for us,” Frankie added. “We’ve not had a lot of time we could play him and put him up top.

“I know a lot of people have been saying why don’t we play three up top, but we get a lot of opportunities and chances up against a back two at times because it ends up being one-v-one situations when you get the ball up to us.

“In the main I felt that was probably a big factor for us, particularly today, when Emil quite a lot of the time finds himself up against [Tim] Ream one-on-one and Seani dropping to try and bring the other one with him. It's an issue for a lot of teams.

“And I felt with Ched coming on – it was always the plan to get him on within the game in the second half – he’s a threat and he’s a nuisance. He takes the ball, he keeps it alive, he’s a real team player, a real leader on and off the pitch, and he’s a nuisance for the opposition to be honest.

“I’m delighted with him again and delighted that the fans can see him getting really, really close to full match fitness.”

Up next for McAvoy and his men is a short journey to Ewood Park next Saturday to face Blackburn Rovers – the first time all season that PNE will have a free midweek, aside from the international breaks.

Frankie said: “My full focus was on Fulham; I’ve not thought about the Blackburn game to be honest.

“We’ll deal with that when we come back in, but the players deserve a couple of days off because it’s been a long schedule recently for us – travelling, getting back and then having to do the late training session on the Thursday.

“It’s been a bit tough and then the early kick-off, so what we’ll do is go and rest up and get ourselves prepared as best as we can for the big derby next week.”

Watch Frankie's full interview now on iFollow PNE.

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