Preston North End boss Alex Neil concedes stalemate with Nottingham Forest 'wasn't great' to watch

Preston's Alan Browne and Darnell Fisher after the final whistle against Nottingham Forest
Preston's Alan Browne and Darnell Fisher after the final whistle against Nottingham Forest

Preston North End manager Alex Neil admitted his side's goalless draw with Nottingham Forest at Deepdale had not been a classic game.

Although the Lilywhites stretched their unbeaten run to seven games, they looked rather leggy in the aftermath of last Wednesday's 3-1 win over Norwich City.

Preston substitute Lukas Nmecha goes between two Nottingham Forest players at Deepdale

Preston substitute Lukas Nmecha goes between two Nottingham Forest players at Deepdale

Neil reflected on three openings in the first 10 minutes which went begging, had one of those gone in it would have changed the nature of the game.

Martin O'Neill's Forest side twice had the ball in the net at the other end, only to see them ruled out for offside and a foul respectively.

Neil said: "It wasn't great was it?

"If you look at the last six or seven matches we have played in, I think the entertainment value, energy and quality has all been there.

"Today I felt the first 10 minutes were key for us because if we had got that goal, Nottingham Forest wouldn't have been able to sit behind the ball, they wouldn't have been able to have their two banks of four.

"The one thing you can see from Martin's side is that they build from the back, their full-backs never moved so we couldn't get in behind them.

"The game was ideally suited to a Callum Robinson or a Billy Bodin type player to get between the lines but unfortunately we didn't have that type of player available.

"We had to try and find an alternative way of doing it

"I didn't think we used the ball as well as we could do, the pitch didn't help with that.

"Nottingham Forest had looked at the pitch earlier and on the back on that decided to go with two up top.

"We like to move and risk the ball and generally the surface has been very good.

"That is no slant on the groundsman, the weather has taken its toll.

"We are not on that pitch for a couple of weeks now and in that time we can get some grass seed down and get some grass on it."

Looking at the early play, Neil was somewhat rueful.

"We had three good chances early on, Ben Pearson puts Tom Barkhuizen in early but his touch was really loose.

"Another one, Tommy B nicked and we go straight through but Brad Potts goes beyond the ball - he needs to hold his run a little bit.

"Then there was the one when Darnell Fisher got down the side, again Pottys has to hold his run and let Darnell cut it back.

"They were the three opportunities - if any of them had gone in it would have been a different game.

"We risked the ball a lot in the first half but that was causing our own problems.

"I thought we needed to eliminate that risk so we turned the ball a bit more which didn't make for great entertainment."