'Nowhere near good enough': Preston North End head coach slams first-half display against Derby County

Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy admitted his side hadn't been good enough for parts of their goalless draw with Derby County at Deepdale.

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 6:31 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th October 2021, 6:32 pm

In the first half especially, the Lilywhites were second best to Derby who moved the ball well and looked far sharper.

A change of shape and three substitutions were to eventually bring North End more into the game.

Having to settle for a point after being below par spelt disappointment for a bumper 18,092 crowd which came out to pay tribute to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings who died on Monday, aged 86.

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Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy during the 0-0 draw with Derby County at Deepdale

Having seen off Derby's first-half pressure and survived a scare in the second half when Curtis Davies headed against the bar, North End had a great late chance to win the game.

Emil Riis got clear on goal but saw his shot saved by Rams keeper Ryan Allsop.

McAvoy said: "In the first half we were nowhere near good enough I thought Derby were way superior, the better team.

"We were going to change it in terms of some personnel at half-time but I thought the performance was so bad that they needed to go out and show they were better than they showed in the first half.

PNE fans show their appreciation to Trevor Hemmings

"That is why we kept it that way at half-time. As the game went on I know exactly what I was going to try and do. I felt we needed to change the shape a bit.

"We started to get a bit more in the game, Ben Whiteman had a big impact when he came on, Scotty Sinclair as well..

"Those two gave us more impetus. In the last 25 minutes of the game we were probably better.

"We went to the 4-2-3-1 for the last part of the game when we brought Josh Murphy on, hoping we could pen them in.

"We got maybe the best chance of the chance which falls to Emil, whether he could slip it across the box early I don't know - I'll have to see it back.

"It is a case of getting the ball out of your feet early and sticking it away.

"We had a couple of near things at set plays.

"It has been a sombre week for everyone, Mr Hemmings passing away. Sometimes the occasion can get the better of you, that might have been the case.

"But you have to credit Derby, I thought they were excellent in the first half. Their movement caused us issues and we couldn't get close to them.

"What happened was that the wing-backs sunk into a defensively mode which is what happened in the very first game of the season here. That was exactly the same here.

"The first half was very disappointing, the second half was a bit better. We need to get ready for Coventry City on Wednesday.

"The only positive was that we kept a clean sheet and didn't lose the game if I'm being brutally honest."

It was a sixth draw in seven Championship games for North End, a fact not lost on McAvoy.

The Scot said: "It is a concern, of course is it. We want to win as many of our games but if we play like we did in the first half, we won't win many.

"We have said before that when we play a team with a back four and three up front who are fluid, it maybe we need to adjust how we play. That is one thing to look at again."

McAvoy was disappointed the match was not more of a spectacle to honour Mr Hemmings' passing.

He said: "I talked to the players today and said the one thing we needed to do was to win and send Mr Hemmings away with a good farewell. That is what we hoped to try and do.

"I was hoping we would be enough to do that but first half wasn't good enough, I hold my hands up.

"We got a bit better second half. But we need to put things right."

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