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Gaffer Pleased With Spirit In Defeat

5 October 2013

Simon Grayson was pleased with the attitude and spirit shown by his players in the second half, after the Lilywhites left themselves with too much to do at London Road.

After falling behind early, North End were left to rue a disappointing first half, which was followed by an excellent second half display which had everything except a Preston goal.

And as disappointed as Grayson was with the first half, he was pleased with what he learned about his players in the second.

Discussing the match, the boss said: “We knew we were going to be in for a tough game against a very good team.

“Their front three are as good as any in the division, we just felt that we gave them too much room to play and too much time to dominate the proceedings.

“When we get on the front foot and stop teams from playing, we look a different team and we allowed them too much space to get into their passing routine and we obviously gave them a two goal start.

“I wanted a reaction at half-time and I certainly got that, because second half I thought we were the dominant force, we had 70 per cent of the possession and hit the crossbar two or three times and their ‘keeper had some good saves, so we could have quite easily got something out of it, but you can’t give teams two goal starts.

“I have learned that there is a fantastic spirit and a great attitude to not get beat about us, I knew that, but once you go into a changing room at half-time, two goals down, we want a reaction from the players and 
you can either bury your head in the sand or go out fighting and they did, they came out fighting and took the game to a very strong team who will be up there come the end of the season.

“It was something we knew we had in the team, but they showed today what they are capable of doing when they are up against it.

“We haven’t had to do that too many times, we have lost today for the first time this season and we only lost two or three times in 14, 15 games [last season] so they don’t know what defeat is, they have suffered defeat today and we will try and go back on another unbeaten run.

“When I looked at how they played, I did think about changing our system and putting a midfield player in there and sacrificing one of the strikers, but sometimes you have got to be fair to the players who have done ever so well for us and I thought we could still cause them bother by doing that, but hence we changed it at half-time.

“We got an extra body in there and we got a lot more second balls, got on the front foot and caused them a lot of problems.”

Both Peterborough goals were disappointing from a defensive perspective, Declan Rudd evidently frustrated with both, before producing a stunning series of top drawer saves to keep the talented frontline of the Posh at bay.

And Grayson was quick to back his goalkeeper.

He continued: “You can’t be critical of the lad because he has been fantastic since he has been at the football Club.

“You can count on two or three fingers how many mistakes he has made, but, the sign of a good goalkeeper is that when he makes mistakes, he didn’t let anything affect him.

“He was on top form after that with some fantastic saves, it’s fantastic traits to have, character and attitude, to make a mistake and go on and keep producing the performance that he did.”

Backed by a very vocal North End following, the Lilywhites responded superbly after the break, bossing the match for the entirety of the second period, but chances failed to be converted and a strong penalty claim was turned down, not that Grayson was using that as an excuse.

The gaffer added: “In the second half we knew that if we got the next goal we were well and truly in the game and Joe Garner came on and had about four opportunities, we feel he should have had a penalty, he got pushed in the back blatantly which we didn’t get, that’s a free kick anywhere else on the football pitch.

“I don’t think we got too many decisions from the referee today which didn’t help us, but I am not going to use that as an excuse, but we certainly had a host of chances to get back into it.”

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