Four things we learned: Preston North End’s defence was out of position and attack’s out of ideas

North End were put to the sword as a ruthless Brentford side took them apart at Deepdale.

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 4:45 pm

Bryan Mbuemo opened the scoring in the first half, turning home a low cross from the right and Marcus Forss doubled their lead in almost identical fashion before the break.

Though PNE had been in the first half, they weren’t in the following 45 minutes as Brentford ran riot and extended their lead. Ivan Toney made it three with a header before he laid one on for Sergi Canos.

Minutes before the end Emiliano Marcondes got on the end of a short pass in the area and squeezed the ball in.

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North End players after conceding another goal

TOM SANDELLS looks at four talking points from the game.

1. Punished

It doesn’t take much to realise that North End were far from their best against the Bees but even still, the London side were clinical.

Their comfortable two-goal lead at the halfway stage was thanks to just two shots on target, yet it was still made to look like a formality when the opportunities presented themselves.

They’d given themselves a healthy advantage going into the second half but there were still question marks from this campaign over finishing games off.

They made no mistake.

It was tough to watch PNE’s hapless defence trying to keep up with the incisive passing and crisp first touches.

They looked out of sorts and when that is the case against Brentford, you’re right to brace yourself for a beating.

2. Lost their way

After a couple of good results, it seemed like PNE just lost their way in this game.

They had previously matched the opposition for decent chunks of the game which gave hope for getting positive results.

On Saturday, though they started brighter and arguably conceded against the run of play twice, it 
didn’t really seem like a game the Lilywhites would win – especially in the second 
half.

They had their moments in the first half but they were all at sea in the second.

They were out of position and out of ideas, offering next to nothing going forward whilst plugging leaks on a paddle boat that was already half sunk.

Frankie McAvoy got it wrong, but that will happen – with all teams and all managers.

A response is what is now needed.

3. Time to reset

After such a humbling defeat, North End now have the week to get it our of their system.

It means rest for those that need it and a chance to improve on other areas for those that can.

It will be important to put this result behind them quickly and to focus more on the Easter weekend.

The squad is looking healthier in terms of numbers and with more time working with the squad, hopefully McAvoy can put more of his attacking stamp on them without sacrificing the defence.

4. Four points taken

Coming into these past three games, North End were apprehensive to say the least.

A draw against all three would have been welcomed – that would only have yielded three points.

To win, draw and lose they have taken four points instead and, given prior form, it is a good return from three of the highest-placed sides in the league.

It’s certainly given interim head coach Frankie McAvoy a platform to build from with perceived easier games on the horizon.

It has also helped lift the mood within the fanbase.