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Preston manager Alex Neil has mixed emotions about defeat to Swansea

PNE manager Alex Neil
PNE manager Alex Neil

Preston North End boss Alex Neil admitted his side's performance in defeat to Swansea City had been a real mixed bag.

The Lilywhites were very poor in the first half at the Liberty Stadium and went in at the interval trailing to a goal from Jay Fulton.

Lukas Nmecha on his PNE debut

Lukas Nmecha on his PNE debut

Had it not been for a Declan Rudd penalty save from Oli McBurnie, they could have been further behind.

In the second half, Neil felt his side were much better and deserved something out of the game after creating a succession of chances.

But Fulton's header proved enough for the Welsh hosts to take the three points.

Neil said: "I felt in the first half we lacked belief in ourselves as much as anything.

"We didn't move the ball well enough and Swansea set themselves up to be really expansive.

"They waited for us to concede possession and went on the counter attack which is where the majority of their chances came from.

"Our quality just wasn't there in the first half."

The defending for Swansea's goal perhaps mirrored the quality of their first-half play, North End having enough chances to clear their lines after a free-kick was delivered into the box.

Neil said: "Defensively for their goal, I was really disappointed.

"Darnell Fisher was booked for giving away a free-kick which I didn't think was a foul.

"We cleared the free-kick, the ball got put back in again and Ben Davies nodded it into a dangerous area.

"The ball was helped back in and while Ben stood there, the lad got across him to score.

"At half-time I told the lads we could do one of two things - we could either sit in and not believe we are good enough or we could get up against them.

"We did the latter, we gave it a good go and we moved the ball much better.

"In the first half we'd had seven players who for me, under-performed with the ball.

"In the second half they rose to the challenge and the quality was miles better.

"Over the piece we deserved more - Swansea were better than us in the first half and for the second half we were on top and had opportunities to get back in the game."