“We went too defensive and MUST learn” says Preston North End boss Frankie McAvoy

Frankie McAvoy says lessons have to be learned from Preston North End going into ‘default’ defensive mode during the opening-day loss to Hull City at Deepdale.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites went 1-0 up through Emil Riis’ early goal but then dropped too deep which allowed the Tigers to boss the first half and equalise.

McAvoy flipped formation at half-time and briefly got a response before Hull’s second goal nosed them in front.

The visitors scored twice in the closing stages to make it 4-1, inflicting PNE’s heaviest home defeat on the opening day since Tottenham won by the same scoreline in 1956.

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PNE head coach Frankie McAvoy after the final whistle against Hull at Deepdale

It was far from the result fans wanted as they returned to Deepdale 17 months to the day since last being allowed to come through the turnstiles.

McAvoy said: “For some reason we went into a default mode and ended up in a back five in the first half.

“It looked from where I was standing as though we were a bit timid in allowing our wing-backs to release early and get our outside centre-backs out in one-versus-one situations.

“That had been something we had done a lot of work on, we used it well against Celtic in pre-season.

“That was disappointing and if we’d continued with that formation, I not sure we would have managed to get them up the pitch.

“I thought changing it at half-time would give them a spark for the second half.

“For a time I thought we got that spark but goals change games and Hull got their second goal.

“That goal was a little bit unfortunate in that it got deflected, saying that we needed to be quicker closing it down.

“For the third goal, their striker got between our two centre-backs and nicked in to score.

“The fourth was extremely poor, we just stood and watched it. If I’m honest I thought Hull looked more hungry than us.”

PNE lost Declan Rudd in the first few minutes on Saturday, the keeper taken off to follow concussion protocol after a clash with Hull winger Keane Lewis-Potter.

Daniel Iversen came on as a ‘concussion substitute’ which allowed North End still to make three further subs.

That meant Hull were also entitled to make four substitutions rather than the maximum of three.

Rudd is unlikely to be available for tomorrow night’s visit to Mansfield Town in the Carabao Cup.

McAvoy was without Scott Sinclair, Sean Maguire and Tom Bayliss on Saturday due to them isolating.

It is thought that two of them should be back for the Mansfield game, the isolation for the third player down to a different close contact and having started a bit later.