Preston's possession stats counted for nothing against Forest

Preston North End’s defeat to Nottingham Forest came on the day they recorded their best possession statistics of the season.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 8:00 am

It showed that possession is not always king, with Forest content to sit off North End and defend their lead.

Frankie McAvoy’s men had 60% of the ball over the course of the City Ground clash.

Yet they mustered only four shots, two of which were on target.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Emil Riis on the ball against Nottingham Forest

Their previous best share of possession in the league this season was the 57% they had at Reading in August, a game they lost 2-1.

On Saturday, Forest were 2-0 up before half-time and scored their third goal in the 70th minute.

PNE switched to a 4-3-3 in the second half in an attempt to get back into the game but offered little.

PNE head coach McAvoy thinks his side are better with a counter-attacking approach, one used in last week’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth and also in the Carabao Cup clash with Liverpool.

McAvoy said: “We didn’t create enough chances against Nottingham Forest.

“We had a lot more of the ball than we have done in recent games.

“I think we are a lot better in transition where we can hit on the break.

“Against Forest we had a lot more of the ball as we tried to get back in.

“When they had gone 2-0 up, Forest could sit in their shape and say ‘Come on, break us down’.

“That was something we couldn’t do and we were very disappointed.

“We win and lose as a team and Saturday wasn’t good enough.”

When becoming the first team to beat Bournemouth in the Championship, North End had just 38% possession.

When they beat Luton in the game before, McAvoy’s side had the ball for 53% of the game.

It was a 50/50 share in the win against Coventry.

Back in August, PNE beat Swansea with 40% possession and Peterborough with 43%.

Their lowest possession was the 37% they had in the 2-2 draw at Sheffield United in September.

On the international front, PNE have three players away with their country over the coming week or so.

There’s a fitness doubt, though, about Alan Browne who missed the Forest game with a back injury he suffered at Bournemouth.

Browne has joined up with the Republic of Ireland camp to have the injury assessed, as is the protocol.

Ali McCann is with the Northern Ireland squad and Sepp van den Berg has been named in the Netherlands Under-21.

Daniel Johnson didn’t make the Jamaica squad.

Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.