Preston North End stand-in head coach Frankie McAvoy says 5-0 hammering is a lesson learned

Frankie McAvoy will go three at the back in Preston North End’s remaining five games of the season after learning a ‘harsh lesson’ in the five-goal drubbing against Brentford.
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McAvoy switched from a 3-5-2 system to 4-3-3 early in the second half at Deepdale on Saturday.

They trailed 2-0 when the interim head coach changed formation when making a triple substitution.

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North End lost their way in an attacking sense with the change and in the last quarter of an hour shipped three more goals to the visitors.

Frankie McAvoy accepts that criticism will come his wayFrankie McAvoy accepts that criticism will come his way
Frankie McAvoy accepts that criticism will come his way

It was the first time since February 1973 PNE had conceded five goals without reply at home.

In more recent times, this was their heaviest defeat since Brentford beat them by the same scoreline at Griffin Park in September 2016.

McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “It is clear we are better in a 3-5-2.

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“When I went to a back four I didn’t think it served us well enough, we didn’t deal with the stuff thrown at us.

“Individually and collectively as a group, we didn’t defend anywhere near as well as we had done against Swansea last week.

“You get the plaudits when things work out for you and you get criticised when they don’t, I’m fine with that.

“I accept that criticism will come my way because I changed it during the game.

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“I went three up top against their three centre-backs, hoping it would get us a goal to get back into the game but unfortunately it worked against us.

“Brentford were clinical and we’ve got to take it on the chin.”

Although PNE were 2-0 down by half-time, it was a much more even first half than the second half turned out to be.

Brentford’s first two goals came down the same side of the pitch, both set up by their wing-back Mads Roerslev.

“They were disappointing goals to concede,” said McAvoy.

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“For the first one Tom Barkhuizen got dragged in and allowed their lad behind him.

“Then it was making sure the other wing-back covers round and Sepp van den Berg switched off.

“For the second we were set up well behind the ball but they managed to work inside the pitch and we became too narrow which allowed the wing-back to get down the channel and work the ball in.

“I thought at 2-0 we were a bit harshly dealt with because we did okay in the first half.

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“Football teaches you some harsh lessons at times and that was certainly the case.”

Meanwhile, North End’s visit to Stoke on Saturday will move kick-off time to avoid a clash with the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which takes place at 3pm.

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