Alex Neil says Preston North End were mentally tired against Nottingham Forest

Right-back Darnell Fisher looks disappointed at the final whistle against Nottingham Forest
Right-back Darnell Fisher looks disappointed at the final whistle against Nottingham Forest

Alex Neil felt Preston taking a point from a ‘damp squib’ of a clash with Nottingham Forest was better than nothing.

The Deepdale stalemate was not one for the purists but saw North End extended their unbeaten run to seven games.

Neil admitted the victory over Norwich in the previous game had left them running close to empty, mentally as much as physically.

So he opted to look at the bigger picture and be pleased with seven points put on the board from the three games last week.

“The Forest game was always going to be a bit of a worry after the exertions of Wednesday night,” Neil told the Post.

“I didn’t want it to be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’.

“We got everyone on such a high by beating Norwich and I didn’t want this one to be a bit of a damp squib.

“Although it was a bit of a damp squib as far as we were concerned, we got something from the game.

“We did the ugly bits of the game very well but the bits we have been synonymous for in the last five or six games, we found difficult.

“Forest’s full-backs didn’t move out of their slots so it meant Alan Browne and Brad Potts couldn’t really run.

“Sean Maguire was getting bashed up every time the ball went up to him.

“The pitch didn’t help us when we tried to play through the lines.

“I’ve no complaints about the result, all in all.”

Neil had stuck with the side which had beaten Norwich but opted for early changes.

At half-time he switched to a diamond shape in midfield, putting Jayden Stockley on for Paul Gallagher.

Then midway through the second half, Daniel Johnson and Lukas Nmecha came on.

Said Neil: “We changed to the diamond for the second half, which needed the two full-backs to be our outlet.

“In recent matches our full-backs had been staying at home, hence we were more protective at the back.

“We had been using our two running No.10s to do the damage but they couldn’t do that this time.

“Our full-backs needed to be more aggressive and we needed to move the ball better.

“There was slackness at times, Ben Davies let one roll under his foot, another went over Ben Pearson’s foot, there was a slack pass from Jordan Storey.

“Even Daniel Johnson, when he came on, there was a bit of slackness.

“It is about concentration levels and people talk about fatigue.

“That is not necessarily about the legs because the lads could still run.

“It is mentally and perhaps that caught up with us a bit in this one.”