Preston North End boss Alex Neil on the lessons his side must learn from defeat at Millwall
Preston manager Alex Neil had a deep sense of frustration with the ‘very average’ display from his side in the defeat to Millwall at The Den.
The Lilywhites lost 1-0 in South London in front of more than 1,200 travelling fans and Neil was not happy with the opening-day outcome.
Jed Wallace’s 33rd-minute goal was enough for Millwall to take the three points, PNE having only one shot on target in a game of few chances.
Neil said: “You wait for five or six weeks to get to this point, the first game, and you want to give a good account of yourselves.
“You want to do all that you can to win the game, so to not do that is disappointing.
“I’m disappointed for my team, disappointed for the fans, disappointed with how we played.
“I didn’t think there was a lot in the game and I didn’t think Millwall were excellent and created numerous chances.
“To lose that kind of game is frustrating and you have to learn from it.
“Sometimes you have to learn to take a point, take it home and know you need to improve.
“There will be other teams in our league sat here with the same thoughts and in the same position.”
Neil used two of his four summer signings in London, centre-back Patrick Bauer starting and winger Andre Green coming off the bench in the 74th minute.
Tom Bayliss – signed from Coventry on Friday morning – and David Nugent travelled with the squad but were not in the matchday party.
Both will get the chance to pull on the boots in a bounce game this week ahead of the Championship meeting with Wigan on Saturday.
Neil’s approach at Millwall was influenced with how well PNE had played at the same ground last season. Said Neil: “We played with two running 10s and the team, with the exception of Patrick Bauer, was the exact one which won here last season, exactly the same in terms of style.
“Millwall performed a lot better this time and I thought we performed poorer.
“It didn’t work properly and our quality wasn’t there.
“We changed tack in the second half, put the big man up front and had Sean Maguire in behind him.
“But to be honest, we didn’t move the ball quickly enough, didn’t win enough second balls and didn’t put enough crosses into the box.
“When you combine all of those things, naturally it was a frustrating afternoon.”
Meanwhile, PNE left-back Josh Earl has joined Bolton on loan until January 5.
Earl made his Bolton bow at Wycombe on Saturday but hurt his ankle making a tackle after 20 minutes and limped off.