Alex Neil left frustrated by Preston North End's defending for Millwall's late winner at The Den

Preston North End manager Alex Neil slammed his side's defending for Millwall's late winner at The Den.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:21 pm

The Lilywhites failed to drop back and cover when a long ball was played over the defence, Mason Bennett reaching it ahead of Daniel Iversen to nod the ball home in the 86th minute.

Ched Evans had given North End a 12th minute lead with a fine volley from outside the box, before Scott Malone equalised before half-time with an impressive strike from outside the box.

Neil said: "It was a rubbish game, what I expected us to do was get a point and go back up the road.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil's reaction says it all at the end of the game against Millwall

"We scored a great goal and triggered the press well in the first half and for the first 20 minutes were the better side.

"Then they came into it before half-time. The first part of the second half was just scrappy, that would be the best way to describe it.

"The biggest difference as the game went on was that they were turning the ball forward and getting behind us but when we turned the ball we were leaving it short and their centre-backs were in control of the situation.

"Their second goal was horrific from our point of view.

Mason Bennett heads Millwall's late winner over PNE goalkeeper Daniel Iversen

"The ball goes in behind, we needed to cover space but didn't and their lad gets a nick on it and manages to score.

"That is disappointing because we had spoken about defending the space in behind, it was just frustrating."

Neil felt the first two goals in the game from Evans and Malone were 'quality' strikes and if anyone was to blame for the Millwall equaliser, it was him.

He had instructed North End to back off and deny space in behind, Malone taking advantage and chancing his luck from outside the box.

But Neil just wished his defence had covered back that way to deny the second goals

Asked if Malone got too much time to pick his spot, Neil said: "Arguably, but the lad puts in into the top corner.. Some goals you have to give credit for.

"Our goal and their first goal were moments of quality from two players.

"Our biggest frustration about their first goal was that we didn't stop them switching play.

"We back off, leave the space in front of us and he bangs it in the top corner.

"Yes, we could do slightly better for that, I will be quite happy to take responsibility for that goal because I wanted us to cover the space and were happy to leave space in front of us.,

"For the second goal that is exactly what we didn't do and it cost us the match."

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