PNE boss unhappy with first-half display

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson admitted his side's performance in the draw against Burton Albion had been a contrasting tale of two halves.

Saturday, 26th November 2016, 5:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:30 pm
Callum Robinson celebrates netting PNE's equaliser

Grayson felt PNE's first-half display had been the poorest of the season, with the second-half a huge improvement.

North End fell behind to a 23rd minute goal from Jackson Irvine, Burton having already hit the woodwork and been denied by a fine Chris Maxwell save.

Callum Robinson's close-range finish pulled the home side level in first-half stoppage-time.

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In the second half, Preston bossed the play but were unable to make further inroads into the Brewers' defence.

Grayson said: "The first half was probably the worst we had played all season.

"We warned the lads beforehand how Burton would play and what players they had available to them.

"Really, we could had been a couple of goals down, even three down at half-time given how poorly we played with and without the ball.

"We got a break by getting level by half-time with the goal and in the second half you saw the real team ethic which we have.

"Unfortunately we couldn't quite get the breaks when we needed them to go and get the win.

"So we were disappointed with the first-half performance but pleased with the second half when we played well.

"What is disappointing is that we have only taken two points from the possible six we've had available in the last two home games."

Grayson was at a loss to explain why North End had dipped way below their best for much of the first half.

"Before the game we had told the players they couldn't wait for something to happen before getting started," said Grayson.

"I wanted us to be the team who were positive, have a run or put in a tackle at the first opportunity, go and express ourselves.

"But we didn't do that, we started sloppily.

"Burton had a couple of early corners, had some opportunities, got the goal and had chances after that.

"We weren't at our best, we were along way short of that.

"Everything we didn't do in the first half, we did in the second half.

"We played with a tempo and passed the ball quicker, stopped Burton from playing - they couldn't get out of their own half for 25 minutes.

"When you are on top like that, you have to make sure you score."