'Far too many didn't play well' admits Preston manager Alex Neil after defeat to Rotherham

Preston North End manager Alex Neil bemoaned 'far too many' poor performances in the defeat to Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 7th November 2020, 6:27 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th November 2020, 6:30 pm

A frustrating afternoon in South Yorkshire saw PNE struggle to find any rhythm in their play against a Millers side who worked hard and pressed them.

After falling behind in the 54th minute, North End hauled themselves back into the contest with Ryan Ledson's first goal for the club 10 minutes from time.

That should have been enough for them to take a point from the game and with them on the front foot at that stage, North End pushing on to win it couldn't be ruled out.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil

But Brad Potts gave the ball away six minutes after the equaliser, allowing Rotherham to break from their own half and score the winner.

Neil said: "Naturally I am disappointed and frustrated after that. I didn't think we played well first and foremost.

"Having watched most of Rotherham's games here, the game panned out exactly as I expected, I've never seen anyone come here and make it a free-flowing game.

"Rotherham are really aggressive, they are in your face, they make it difficult, they want to fight and scrap for second balls, they want to run and get the ball forward to make you defend.

Ryan Ledson at the final whistle of PNE's defeat to |Rotherham

"The first 30 minutes were competitive, we then flipped out shape to go into a diamond shape to get runners through the middle.

"We had the best chance of the first half when DJ went one-on-one with the goalkeeper, we didn't take it which was a big moment in the game.

"For their first goal we conceded a set play, lost the first header and didn't pick up the second ball from which they scored.

"At that point I was a bit concerned because Rotherham work really hard to deny you opportunities and chances.

"But we had enough of them. Tom Barkhuizen came on and got himself in good areas, had a one-on-one with the keeper.

"Then Paul Gallagher came on and helped us, he put the corner in, the ball runs to Ryan Ledson who sticks it in the net with a great shot.

"That put us back in the game and I genuinely thought at that stage we would go on and win the match.

"What we had talked about with Rotherham is don't play any square passes because they will jump and press.

"I don't really know you can legislate for the mistake for the goal, we just passed it straight to them.

"We were open and they broke on us. Alan Browne who had to go to right-back when Darnell Fisher had to go off has got caught on half-way and his man was standing free at the back post to put the ball in.

"Listen, I gave them all the praise they deserved the other night at Reading, we had 11 really good performances.

"Far too many today didn't play well, they didn't move the ball well enough, didn't show enough composure.

"Some of the lads in the middle of the park in the first half gave the ball away every time they touched it. There were some poor performances in there."

The nature of Rotherham's winner clearly frustrated Neil, with North End on the attack when Potts tried to find Joe Rafferty with a pass but under hit it.

Neil said: "The disappointing thing about giving the ball away was that there wasn't even any pressure on the ball, it wasn't as if we were getting pressed and were trying to find a pass away from the pressure.

"We were in the middle of the pitch, with the ball and without anyone near us. We passed the ball straight to them.

"It was absolute rubbish and we cost ourselves the game.

"Even if we had taken a point I would have been disappointed with the performance because I think we can play far, far better."

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