Alex Neil assesses Lukas Nmecha's Preston North End debut and explains why Manchester City loanee played ahead of Louis Moult
Alex Neil felt Preston fans got glimpses of what Manchester City loanee Lukas Nmecha will bring to his side after the teenage front man made his debut in the defeat at Swansea on Saturday.
The England Under 21 international arrived at Deepdale on Thursday and after training with his team mates on Friday was thrust straight into action at the Liberty Stadium in place of Louis Moult.
It was a frustrating day for PNE however as Jay Fulton’s first-half header condemned them to defeat in South Wales.
North End did have chances after the break, Nmecha seeing one clear effort saved, but couldn’t find a way through.
“His movement for his chance in the second half was excellent,” said Neil.
“He makes a diagonal run down the side and we slip it in and he makes good connection with the ball and the ‘keeper makes the save.
“He’s only 19. He’s certainly got attributes that when Sean Maguire’s out we haven’t got.
“Louis did well last week taking the ball in but I would probably argue that’s Louis’ main strength.
“I just felt today we needed a different option in terms of someone who runs away from the ball.
“It worked to a point but if you continually give the ball away like we did in the first half to be honest it doesn’t matter who plays where.”
After an abject display in the opening half Preston improved after the interval.
As well as forcing one save form Erwin Mulder, Nmecha had a glimpse of goal when he looked to pounce on a short Martin Olsson back-pass only for the Swansea ‘keeper to be the stronger in the challenge.
“I thought like most of the players in the first half it was a bit of a struggle for him,” said Neil.
“Second half he looked much brighter, his retention of the ball was better.
“The problem that we had was that in the the first half we couldn’t get good enough service, we didn’t break well enough, we didn’t work the ball into good areas.
“He had his opportunity when he got stuck down the side but when it’s a short back pass he should do better for me.
“He thought he was going to get hurt so he pulled out which he shouldn’t have done. He should have put his foot in.
“But he’s a young lad, it’s his first game and he’s going to have to learn quickly.”