'That's what you want as a coach' - Frankie McAvoy delighted with PNE players in Norwich City draw

Frankie McAvoy was delighted with the efforts of his PNE players as they scored a last-gasp equaliser against league leaders Norwich City.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 6:35 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd April 2021, 6:36 pm

McAvoy was in the dugout for the first time since taking over as interim head coach of the Lilywhites, drawing with his former club 1-1.

Emi Buendia opened the scoring in the first half, curling an effort past Daniel Iversen from 20 yards out,

There were chances for both sides in the game and it was North End who took one of them, Ryan Ledson s ball forward brought down by Brad Potts before he turned and saw his effort sneak in at the near post.

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Frankie McAvoy during his first game as interim head coach of PNE.

There was a shade of fortune as Potts' effort was deflected past Tim Krul in the City goal but that didn't matter at all to McAvoy who simply wanted a result.

He said: "We were looking for a positive result and that was the biggest thing for us.

"We played a diamond 4-4-2 to try and nullify Norwich coming through the pitch and try to force them on the outside of the pitch. And then we wanted to create them problems with playing two up top, getting down the sides of them.

"I thought it started reasonably well for us if I'm being honest, then we started to lose our way a bit in the game. We created a few opportunities with Emil Riis and Scott Sinclair, they were two good opportunities to score.

"The disappointing thing for us is that we allowed Buendia to come inside the pitch and open the goal up, some of us actually stopped playing, then we ended up 1-0 down.

"That was disappointing for us because we'd worked so hard on what our game plan was going to be but I thought the effort, the work rate, the hunger and desire right up until the 95th minute is excellent. And that's what you want as a coach."

Trailing going into the final stages of the contest, PNE began to throw all they could at the Canaries.

Potts was deployed as a striker with Anthony Gordon, Sean Maguire and Jayson Molumby all around him for company too.

Despite pegging back Norwich and taking a point from the side who are comfortably top of the Championship, McAvoy was already acknowledging work that needs to be done.

He said: "We put Potts up top and said to him 'Brad, there's two minutes to go plus injury time, get yourself up top.'

"He's a big lad, he can win a flick on or get into the box and take something in, which he did.

"He managed to shake off a defender and turn. Fortunately for us it took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net. But if he doesn't try that you don't get a goal. I'm delighted for him and I'm delighted for the group in general.

"When you score an equaliser in the fifth minute of injury time, that's positive. To be honest, we were trying to get the first goal.

"I thought we had good opportunities to do that then it was going to be to see what Norwich could do. I felt with the team and formation that we put out, we would create chances.

"At the same time, Norwich are top of the league because they are a very good side. You know they are going to get opportunities and chances.

"Particularly with the way we were going to play we knew Teemu Pukki would get down the sides if we allowed them to come inside the pitch with Buendia or Cantwell on the ball. At times I felt we did it well, other times it was too easy."

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