Alex Neil frustrated by Preston North End's defeat to Fleetwood Town but encouraged by David Nugent's display

Preston North End manager Alex Neil was frustrated with the performance of his side in the second half of their defeat to Fleetwood Town.

Saturday, 27th July 2019, 1:11 am
Updated Saturday, 27th July 2019, 2:11 am
Preston manager Alex Neil

The Lilywhites were beaten 1-0 at Highbury on Friday night, Ash Hunter's 59th minute goal settling the pre-season friendly.

It was a second defeat of the pre-season programme for Neil's men, with them having been beaten 3-1 by Southampton last week.

North End play their final friendly today (3pm) against Newcastle United at Deepdale.

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Giving his thoughts on the Fleetwood defeat, Neil said: "As a whole it was disappointing, we wanted to try and win the game.

"For about 30 minutes in the first half we moved the ball really well and created some good chances.

"The second half was really frustrating though, we didn't move it well, we didn't pick up well, we looked exposed and gave the ball away too often.

"The goal typified that, they punished our mistakes rather than them having to break us down.

"We made a square pass, lost it, they broke on us and we stepped out - they slipped it in behind us and scored.

"The lads will naturally be disappointed. I told them afterwards that the real stuff starts next week and we are going to have to be considerably better than they were in the second half.

"We know what we are going into, we know three points will be at stake.

"Since I came here we've had two really good pre-seasons - we started reasonably well in the first year and then rubbish apart from the first game last year.

"So we shouldn't really read too much into pre-seasons and we can hopefully get our finger out for next week."

A positive aspect of the game was a first taste of pre-season action for David Nugent following his Bosman switch from Derby County.

Nugent played the first half before being replaced by Louis Moult, 45 minutes seen as enough as he builds-up his fitness after a summer knee operation.

Neil said: "Nuge was involved in the better half which was good.

"I thought he did well to be fair, he played well off Jayden Stockley, picked up some good second balls.

"He looked bright. Nuge knows when to roll people, when to take the ball in, when to take a foul that sort of thing.

"That is something we spoke about when identifying the need for more experience.

"The side we put out at Fleetwood didn't have as much experience as the one which will play against Newcastle will have."