Alex Neil says Preston have to produce more on the attack

Alex Neil is looking for more from his PrestonNorth End side going forward after they produced a shot-shy display in the FA Cup defeat at Sheffield United.

Monday, 29th January 2018, 5:00 am

The Lilywhites mustered only one shot on target during the Bramall Lane reverse, that a stoppage-time volley from substitute Jordan Hugill.

It was a fourth-round tie when defences were on top, hosts United needing an 80th minute penalty from Billy Sharp to win.

North End manager Neil said: “You can probably argue that it has been the same in the last couple of games.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Preston North End's Louis Moult is tackled by Sheffield United's Simon Moore

“Prior to that I think we were doing pretty well in that area of the pitch.

“Our performances in that position need to be better than they have been in the last two games.”

It was PNE’s approach play which was lacking quality and meant little was created in the Blades box.

Said Neil: “As the game wore on, we put Jordan up with Louis Moult and looked a bit more dangerous.

Preston North End's Louis Moult is tackled by Sheffield United's Simon Moore

“Getting the ball into the final third wasn’t an issue for us, especially in the first half.

“But I thought there was a lack of quality in terms of us picking that final pass and making the right decision.

“Our decision-making when it came to having a shot or putting a cross into the box wasn’t great.”

Moult made his first start in a re-jigged PNE line-up, one which showed eight changes.

He had Daryl Horgan and fellow new boy Billy Bodin in wide areas.

Neil said: “I thought Louis did fine.

“It was always going to be difficult for him playing against three centre-backs.

“He competed well and probably got more involved when Jordan came on.

“Jordan was able to pin them and take the ball in, then Louis was able to work off that.

“There is still a lot more to come, we are learning about his game and he is learning about our player in terms of when to make runs and their delivery of the ball.”

PNE had Darnell Fisher back in action at Bramall Lane after a five-week absence with a torn hip muscle.

The right-back got through 68 minutes and was taken off with an eye on tomorrow night’s visit to Nottingham Forest in the league.

Neil said: “With Darnell you get what it says on the tin.

“He puts a foot in and he is physical.

“Darnell’s use of the ball needed to be a bit better – I didn’t think that was great but it will come with more games.

“He is physical and very hard to get past in one versus one situations.

“I thought he defended well and that it was a great boost to have him back.”

“We took him off to protect him and make sure he’s fresh for the games coming up.”