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First Team News

Ryan Rues First-Half Display In Southampton Loss

16 April 2024

First Team News

Ryan Rues First-Half Display In Southampton Loss

16 April 2024

Ryan Lowe felt his side’s first-half performance against Southampton cost them any chance of getting a positive result.

North End fell behind in the 19th minute as Che Adams opened the scoring and the forward soon got his second of the evening.

Stuart Armstrong added to the scoreline in the 33rd minute and only the post prevented him making it four just prior to the break.

PNE made a change late in the first half and another ahead of the second period in a switch of shape, and the manager was more pleased with what he saw in that second 45.

On the first half, Ryan said: “That wasn’t us. The gameplan was to get in behind them as much as we can. We knew they were going to have large parts of the ball. We needed to turn them more, but we never.

“They were nice and narrow and waited for us to pass inside and then jumped all over us. We didn’t retain the ball at the top end of the pitch.

“The quality up to the top end of the pitch wasn’t good enough. It took too long to get there. When we got there early we were okay. We got in behind and played in their half which was the plan because when you’re up against a good team like them who lock on from goal-kicks, we switched off too much and the turnovers killed us.

“The goals are rubbish goals. You can’t give anyone in this division them types of chances and goals with poor clearances and not retaining the ball, because they punish you. That wasn’t us in the first half.”

As frustrated as the manager was with his side’s first-half display, he was at least pleased with what they went out and did in the second.

Ryan said: “What they did do was show a little bit of spirit. We had to help each other with the change of shape by putting two tens in and one striker. I thought the lads who went on the pitch were fantastic but that’s not good enough the first half.

“The second half was more like us. We were solid, hard to beat, hard to break down, but the first half cost us a potential result.

“Football’s simple at times. If you want to run and work hard and do the basics right, you get results. That’s what this team and this group of players have done all season to get where we are. I don’t want it to just finish now.

“We knew it was going to be tough coming to Southampton. We knew it was going to be hard to win, but we had the confidence and the belief that if we did the basics right [we could get a result].

“I can’t complain at them too much because they’ve been fantastic all season. They’re disappointed in there. We’ve just debriefed the goals, showed them it, and some hands went up saying, ‘Yeah I could have done this’, ‘I could have done that’.

“That’s what I respect because I’ve got an honest group in there and they know the first-half performance was nowhere near the levels.”

The clash at St Mary’s was rearranged from last month when the match was postponed due to a fire in the nearby area.

Despite the long journey being on a Tuesday night and this time around live on Sky Sports, North End were still backed by 556 supporters, who the gaffer was full of admiration for.

Having sent them home with defeat, Ryan said: “That hurts me. In the second half I think that’s a performance they’re proud of: with grit, desire, commitment, hunger, tackles, and being solid, resolute and hard to beat.

“The first half wasn’t that so fair play to them staying behind, clapping the players and we made sure the players stayed behind and showed their appreciation, myself included and the staff because it’s important.

“They’ve been brilliant all season. I’m sorry we didn’t perform in the first half. The second half hopefully we made up for it, but the scoreline and the result doesn’t reflect that because it’s 3-0 and they’re out of sight.

“But a big thank you as always because they’ve been excellent. The away supporters have been top, top drawer along with the home fans.”

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