Steve Bruce’s half-time blast at his players was the catalyst for a much-improved second half display and the 3-3 draw at Preston on Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday’s performance in the first 45 minutes could be described as sluggish, at best, and disinterested at worst and Bruce let his team know what he thought at the interval, with the home side leading 2-0.
Bruce admitted: “I think it was the first time I have lost my temper since being here. We looked in the first half like we were ready for the beach.
“We made mistakes for the first goal and the second, two people for the first one lose the header and don’t do the basics right and the second one was a calamity.
“We were absolutely awful in the first half but we were a different team in the second.
“There were a few words said and then in the second half we did the basics right and asked them a question. I thought we still threw it at them with 10 men.”
He added: “Credit to them. They’ve responded in the right way and even when we went 3-1 down I thought we could come back.
“And in the end, in all honesty, we could have won the game twice right at the end.
“I’m pleased for the supporters because they’ve gone home now with smiles on their faces and it looked anything like that in the first half. They’ve turned out in huge numbers today on an awful afternoon and they deserved to see their team take something from what in the end was a very entertaining game.”
Preston boss, Alex Neill, said afterwards: “Fair play to them, they kept going and I heard Steve from our dressing room at half time so I wasn’t surprised by that.”