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"The Fans Have Been Brilliant"

24 January 2013

Manager Graham Westley looked ahead to the Lilywhites third game with Coventry City in five weeks and praised the supporters.

The North End boss spoke about the need to perform to get the terraces right behind the team after a difficult run at home.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the gaffer said: “The fans have been brilliant. People have talked about a negative atmosphere at time and you walk off as a home manager and get annihilated  and people ask ‘how does that feel?’, but I would hate to be applauded from Deepdale for losing a football match. I would hate to be at a football club where losing is tolerated. 

“I don’t tolerate losing and I don’t feel any better than the fans, in fact I probably feel worse, so I totally get where they are coming from and I like the atmosphere here, because it doesn’t tolerate defeat or mediocrity. 

“We need players who can take on board the noise that comes from the stadium and realise that those fans are as much behind you when you are winning and playing well as they are on your backs when you are not. When the fans are behind you it is a fabulous arena and we have to make sure we are playing well enough to get the fans behind us.”

The players that he will be able to select from this weekend have been bolstered by having two weeks between games and is looking forward to coming up against the Sky Blues again.

“We’ve seen 21 outfield players on the training ground this morning, whereas last weekend – including goalkeepers – we only had 14 or 15, so this week has been a big bonus for us, to get a few of the lads back in training.

“Coventry and us know a lot about each other. We have played pretty well against them, on the whole, over the two games, but I always say you get what you deserve. There are many people who would argue we didn’t get what we deserve over the two games against them. In the league game, we came from behind and put in a very strong second half performance and could easily have won it and it wouldn’t have been an injustice if we’d come away with the three points. Then we all know what happened in the JPT. 

“We know all about them and they know all about us. It is a different arena. It’s our home stadium. It’s a place where we have not been performing as well as we have been performing away, but it is up to us to progress from where we have been and to start making this our home. It has been a real bonus training here so often the last couple of weeks. 

“There are a lot of players who haven’t had a lot of Deepdale in their life as a Preston player, but they have in the last couple of weeks and when they become familiar with the environment and it starts to feel like home, it will come through in their performance.”

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