COUGHLAN, ALEX NEILL REACTION
Preston result ‘tough to take’ - manager
mansfieldtown.net, Sat 29 Aug 2020
Stags’ boss Graham Coughlan says that this afternoon’s game at Preston North End was ‘beneficial’ in terms of increasing fitness levels within his squad, and that the eventual 4-0 scoreline was a ‘harsh lesson’ for his players.
Three first-half goals, added to by Josh Harrop in the second-half, meant that the Stags exited the Carabao Cup in the first round.
The boss, despite being left disappointed with his side’s display, was pleased that eight of his men completed a full 90 minutes.
“Without being too clever about it, I learned that we’re still short. We still need organisation and structure,” he told iFollow Stags
“The lads need a lot more work put into them. It was nice to get eight of them through 90 minutes. That is a plus point.
“We’ve learned not to give the ball away to good teams. There were times where we spent ten or 15 minutes chasing the ball.
“I’d like to see a little more composure and a better thought process when we have the ball. All-in-all it’s been a massive awakening and it’s been beneficial to get the fitness work in.
“We kept going and didn’t stop. Fitness levels are up there and I’m relatively pleased with where we are fitness-wise.
“We now need to work on quality and attention to detail. We need to be a little more clinical in and around the opponents’ goal.”
The manager says that the result is ‘tough to take,’ and that the Stags must retain possession more effectively.
“It’s tough to take. I thought they [Preston] were excellent, the better team by far. Overall, I’m really disappointed with the goals that we conceded.
“We gave the ball away cheaply and if you do that against a team like this, you’re going to be in trouble.
“We’re young, we’re developing - we’re still a fair way off, but that was a harsh lesson for us to take today.
“I was expecting them to have most of the possession, but I didn’t expect us to concede with the ease which we did.
“We had two or three opportunities, but those big moments in games, we need that tide to turn and be a little more clinical in front of goal.
“But we’ll make no excuses as they were far the better side today.”
There was also an injury update from the boss.
“Jordan [Bowery], Nicky [Maynard] and Ollie [Clarke] all trained this morning. Nicky only came in on Thursday so that’s an obvious one [that he couldn’t play today].
“Ollie - could he have played? Possibly. Jordan Bowery could have played if it was a league game.
“There was just a bit of tightness - Jordan will train on Monday and Ollie Clarke, you should see back on the grass next week as well.
“Nicky is probably two weeks off. I’ve said all along during pre-season, I don’t think at any stage of the season I’m willing to risk long-term injuries.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the boss’ interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Alex Neil Pleased To Progress To The Second Round
Preston North End manager Alex Neil was pleased with his side’s performance as they beat League Two side Mansfield Town 4-0 to progress to the second round of the Carabao Cup.
Tom Barkhuizen, Sean Maguire and Patrick Bauer all scored within the first 30 minutes at Deepdale before Josh Harrop sealed the victory in the second half.
The visitors had hit the post in the 11th minute, but from that point on it was North End who dominated the game.
Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, Alex said: “I thought we started a bit sloppy in probably the first ten, 15 minutes. Them hitting the post gave us a little bit of a scare.
“I thought we kicked into gear after that and I thought we posed a real threat. They were really aggressive in terms of how they played. They committed six players to our six players so all the space was in behind them.
“We worked on our movements in terms of getting in behind and that’s what two of the goals come from. The set play was also pleasing, something we worked on yesterday.
“It was a good performance. At the start of the second half we started a bit sloppy again, I thought we looked as if we took our foot off the gas which was frustrating. But again, we upped the pace, got a fourth goal, and then after that I thought we controlled the match.
“It’s pleasing and it’s always nice to win and nice to get through to the next round.”
The manager was particularly happy with the way the front four of Barkhuizen, Maguire, Harrop and Brad Potts set up, causing the Mansfield defence all sorts of problems.
Alex said: “Everybody’s spoke at length in terms of forward players, goals, creation and different things. I thought the lads that played today did well in that regard in terms of creating chances and obviously scoring goals.
“We’ve done a lot of work, we’ve been ready, and I just felt that the balance of today’s game was really suited to playing against the style that Mansfield have got and that proved to be the case.
“Mainly their aggression in terms of how they play a three, which means every time you drop, somebody comes with which leaves space in behind.
“The way we worked our goals and the way the ball stuck when it went up the top end of the pitch was pleasing.
“Against these teams, they can make it really difficult for you. I thought at times they were really quite aggressive and at set plays they looked dangerous. To get a clean sheet and score four and have some other opportunities within the game was good.”
Today’s cup tie was the first competitive game of the 2020/21 season, but PNE will now return to their pre-season schedule with three games in the coming week before the Championship opener in two weeks’ time.
Alex added: “This is a competitive game and we’ve got other lads who have served us very well over my time being here.
“We need to see where some of these lads are because they want to stake a claim, but they need to show what they can do and they need to make sure that when and if we need them to play, or if they’re going to play or deserve to play, that they’re ready to play.
“I think it’s important that we give some of these lads an opportunity to play and I thought today was an ideal opportunity to do so.
“We’ve had good variation in our games that we’ve got between now and the start of the season so that’s pleasing and we’re going to have a real tough week coming up with three Premier League teams coming up.
“We’ll still have to mix and match our squad a little bit to cover everybody in terms of minutes. I’m hopeful that we’ll be ready and we’ll be able to kick off the season in a good manner.”
You can watch Alex’s full interview on iFollow by clicking the video above.
Hunts On ‘A Different Type Of Opposition’
Paul Huntington felt Mansfield Town provided a different type of opposition as Preston North End overcame the Stags with a 4-0 win in the Carabao Cup First Round.
Alex Neil’s side saw the visitors hit the post with barely ten minutes played, but went onto dominate the contest with goals from Tom Barkhuizen, Sean Maguire and Patrick Bauer before the break being followed by a Josh Harrop effort 20 minutes into the second half.
Speaking to iFollow PNE post-match, Huntington admitted that early chance provided a scare, as the visitors pressed high early on, but he was always confident that they could surpass that early challenge.
“First 20 minutes we didn’t start particularly great, took a little bit to get into the game, but then when we scored the first goal, I think we were dominant and could have won by a few more goals really,” the defender said. “It’s nice to get the first 90 minutes in, we’ve only been back just over two weeks, so it’s a good workout and there’s still things to improve upon, but it’s good to get the 90 minutes in.
“We were coming up against a different formation that they played today with two strikers and we had to work hard that first 20 to 30 minutes and then we managed to get a foothold in the game, get goals and I felt we could have won by more in the end.
“As in any game, there’s no easy games, they’ve come here and they were pressing really high for that first 20 minutes. In the back of my mind I was thinking that if they’re doing it for 20, 30 minutes, they won’t be able to sustain it for 90 minutes and we managed to play through them on quite a few occasions. It’s a clean sheet and a win and through to the next round which we’ll look forward to.
“We came up against a different type of opposition. We played Tranmere the other day who are in Mansfield’s league and they sat in. It’s quite brave, quite bold to do that coming away to a Championship side, but maybe they thought that was their best way of attack.
“They created a good chance early on and then we got a foothold in the game, we settled down a bit and I thought we controlled it and we had some nice passages of play.”