Skip to main content

Alex Neil rues ‘silly mistakes’ after Preston’s defeat

Preston North End v Norwich City – FA Cup – Third Round – Deepdale
(Image credit: Dave Thompson)

A frustrated Alex Neil rued Preston’s “silly mistakes” after they slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Swansea in their opening game of the season at Deepdale.

Morgan Gibbs-White scored on his league debut to give the visitors the perfect start to their Championship campaign, with the Wolves loanee tapping in Jake Bidwell’s cross.

But while the 53rd-minute effort proved enough to seal all three points for the Swans, Preston boss Neil insisted his side were the masters of their own downfall.

“Our keeper didn’t have a shot to save,” he said. “In the first half we had little spells when we were on top and Swansea had spells when they were on top.

“We got into some good areas but our final ball let us down at times. There wasn’t much in it.

“These games are going to be decided by making sure you don’t give the ball away cheaply, which I thought we did too often, making sure you don’t make silly mistakes defensively and making sure if you get chances you are clinical.

“That was how the game panned out. For their goal we tried to feed the ball down the left-hand side which got cut out. It was a sloppy pass which got cut out.

“They switched the play, put the ball in the box and I didn’t understand how it ended up in the net as it did. I’ve watched it back and to be honest we should have dealt with it.

“We changed the shape to match them up, be more aggressive. When we did that, our use of the ball at the top end of the pitch didn’t really damage them enough.

“We created as many chances as Swansea did but their chance ended in the back of the net.”

Swansea shaded the first half as new signing Jamal Lowe twice went close and they almost took the lead straight after the restart when Bidwell had a goal disallowed.

But Bidwell put that disappointment behind him to provide the assist for Gibbs-White’s goal as Swansea manager Steve Cooper hailed his team for the “heart and soul” they showed.

“It is definitely a great start,” he said. “Any result here is a really good one because it’s a really tough place to come, as you could see from the record they had here last season.

“They have pretty much the same squad and the same team and it was a tough game. I thought our performance was good.

“In the first half we got into some really good positions but didn’t really quite capitalise on them. But in the second half we kept it going and got the goal.

“Bidwell should have put us 1-0 up – we’ve watched it back and he’s onside.

“It would have been a fantastic goal but, as Bidwell does, he keeps going and gets in again and Gibbs-White gets in the six-yard box to put it in, a brilliant team goal.

“We had to show the other side of the game then to see out the result. A lot of balls in our box but Freddie [Woodman] hasn’t really had a save to make which tells you all about the heart and soul of the latter stages of the game. A really good start.”