Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy admits half-time tactical switch left Lilywhites 'fragile' in defeat to Hull City

Frankie McAvoy was bitterly disappointed that Preston North End fluffed their lines in the opening day 4-1 defeat to Hull City at Deepdale.

Saturday, 7th August 2021, 6:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th August 2021, 6:34 pm

After taking an early lead through Emil Riis, North End almost invited pressure on themselves - something PNE head coach McAvoy was to lament.

Hull's 35th minute equaliser through Keane Lewis-Potter came totally with the run of play, the Tigers well on top by then.

A switch by McAvoy at half-time to a flat back four and a diamond-shaped midfield gave PNE a bit of a lift going forward but left them vulnerable at the back - Hull taking a 63rd minute lead and then scoring twice late on.

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Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy at full-time with Ched Evans and Paul Gallagher

McAvoy said: "That was definitely not the start we wanted, I'm bitterly disappointed.

"Everything in the build-up was excellent, the fans' reception for everyone was great and the Paul Gallagher situation was magnificent when he came on to the pitch.

"We started the game really well, scored a great goal with one wing-back to the other wing-back in the build-up.

"Then for whatever reason we started to get into that back five defensive mode and we allowed their full-backs to come and get forward - we ended-up defending with a five against their three

Frankie McAvoy gives out instructions during PNE's defeat to Hull City at Deepdale

"No matter what we shouted to try and get them to do, we weren't really quick enough to deal with it.

"I thought you could see their goal coming and what was so disappointing was what we worked on - their runs from out to in with Lewis-Potter - they score with.

"We had worked all week on making sure we were really solid with that and unfortunately we got done for the equaliser.

"Once that happened it looked like were a bit fragile.

"The reason we changed it at half-time was because we had five dealing with a three. We decided to have a go and go back to looking at the diamond which we have worked on.

"We started really positively in the second half and we had two great chances to score.

"Then we got caught by their second goal, there was probably a bit of fortune for Hull with it getting a deflection to take it past Daniel Iversen.

"But the third and fourth goals was poor, poor defending from us. We looked really fragile in a back four scenario.

"The bit we really need to look at is that although we probably looked a bit better going forward, we looked fragile defensively as a back four."

McAvoy confirmed that goalkeeper Declan Rudd had been substituted due to concussion protocol.

Iversen replaced him and North End were still allowed to make more subs under the new concussion substitute rule.

"We will see how Dec is on Sunday, go through all the tests we have to do," said McAvoy.

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