Ryan Lowe is desperate for his side to find a solution to their lack of goals, after a missing clinical edge cost PNE in a 2-0 defeat to Sheffield United.
North End were very much the side on top in the first half, dominating proceedings and creating some decent chances too, but ultimately an opener didn’t arrive.
That came on 40 minutes courtesy of visiting forward Iliman Ndiaye, and Oli McBurnie then scored on the other side of half-time to ensure the league leaders left Lancashire with three points.
It’s now just three goals in ten Championship games for PNE, and the manager is desperate for that to change, and change quickly.
“We have been punished,” he told iFollow PNE. “When you have that much possession in the first half and create that many good chances in the first half you’ve got to put the ball in the back of the net.
“I normally say it’s not for the lack of trying, but today I didn’t think we looked like scoring so we’ve got to now find that solution of putting the ball in the back of the net.
“To dominate a top-of-the-league team and a good team in Sheffield United, for large parts especially in the first half, and then a mistake that costs us that gives them a goal is frustrating.
“I said to the lads in there at half-time that’s probably some of the best football we’ve played against a good team.
“We haven’t put the ball in the back of the net, but to give a sloppy goal away, we should clear our lines and we haven’t so I’m disappointed in that.
“Then it’s the same in the second half. Another mistake gives them another goal, and you can’t give Sheffield United two goals. You just can’t do it.”
The first goal saw former Blade Ben Whiteman dispossessed on the edge of the penalty area, and Ndiaye showed great composure to take his time before finding the back of the net.
It was then another “lapse of concentration”, according to Ryan, which cost PNE for the second, as Andrew Hughes lost the ball to Sander Berge, who in turn found goalscorer Oli McBurnie.
“For all the good football they play, one long ball’s done us,” added Ryan.
“There’s been a bit of a mix-up and no communication and next thing it’s dropped to the kid. He’s taken a touch and he’s smacked it in off the post.
“That’s disappointing because we haven’t been opened up by a good Sheffield United team, there’s been a long ball to the top end of the pitch, a second ball and they captialised on it.
“Then the second one, Hughesy’s disappointed that he’s given the ball away and let someone like Berge in a position where he just rolls it to his mate who scores a goal.
“I’m frustrated and disappointed with the two goals conceded.”
PNE now don’t have a fixture until 1st October, when they head to the Stadium Of Light to take on Sunderland.
The team will be training at Euxton, though – other than those away on international duty – working hard to prepare for their return to league action.
Ryan said: “The lads have played a lot of games so the lads will have to have a little bit of downtime, not too much at all, and then we’ll have a full week with them next week and we’ll work on stuff.
“There’s going to be four or five lads away on international duty and one or two getting a couple of injections to make sure they can see themselves through to the next international break.”