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Gaffer: Lilywhites Learned From Reds

Posted: Sat 13 Jul 2013
Author: Oliver Wheeler

PNE boss Simon Grayson insists he was pleased with his side’s performance against Premier League giants Liverpool and claims his players will have learned from the experience.

The Lilywhites fell to goals from Phillip Coutinho, Jordan Ibe, Raheem Sterling and Iago Aspas in the 30 degree heat in their first pre-season friendly of 2013/14.
 
However, Grayson claims he was content with the North End’s play and is sure his side will have learned from their encounter against such quality opposition.
 
“You’re not going to come across that at any stage this year and to have it as your first game isn’t ideal preparation but it’s ideal for all our players to be involved today,” he told PNE.Com following the game.
 
“The things they have learnt from the opposition, the things they have learnt from themselves and it’s just been a great day for Preston North End.
 
“To have a crowd of 20,000 against one of the biggest teams in Europe, if not the world with their name, it’s just been a great day.
 
“The scoreline is disappointing but it’s immaterial, it’s been a great day for everyone at the Club.”
 
Meanwhile, the Yorkshire-man reiterated the value of warm-up fixtures and insists the real test will come for North End when they face Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening day of their League One campaign.
 
“We could lose every pre-season game and still beat Wolves in the first game of the season and that’s all that matters,” Grayson continued.
 
“We’ll have learned from things today and we pointed out to the players certain things they need to do better when we’re playing against different opposition.
 
“You’re not going to get the level of players with the passing and movement and rotation that Liverpool are capable of doing and have done today.
 
“They’ll do that to top teams in the Premier League, never mind us.”
 
“It’s been a great experience for all the players – if you’d have said to Ben Davies or Ryan Croasdale a year ago they’d be playing at Deepdale in front of 21,000 with the likes of players they’ve been playing against, they’d have been very surprised.”
 
The gaffer was full of praise for both Australian defender Bailey Wright and new boy Tom Clarke as the duo were forced to withstand the full 90 minutes, due to the absence of other players through injury.
 
“We had a couple of niggles over the past couple of days which didn’t let us change the team around and credit to him and Bailey that they’ve played the 90 minutes,” he added.
 
“They’ll be tired over the next couple of days.”
 
And the manager continued to be upbeat, claiming North End used the game against the Reds to help the players gain a positional understanding rather than test them tactically.
 
“There are certain things we’ve tried to work on tactically but we’ve not really done too much because you’re not going to be playing against that level of football week in week out, and if you are then certainly League One has improved dramatically over the summer,” he said.
 
“It’s about players understanding their positions and understanding what we wanted to do.”