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Grayson: ‘We Could Have Won It’

5 April 2014

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson thinks his side could have nicked all three points at Ashton Gate, as his team booked a Play-Off berth.

The Lilywhites went ahead through a deflected Jack King effort, before a Wade Elliott shot – again deflected, spun into the bottom right hand corner of Declan Rudd’s net.

But Grayson thinks that a tight match could have gone the way of PNE.

“We knew it was going to be a tight game,” said the gaffer in his post-match press conference.

“Obviously Bristol City have got some good players and the way they set-up and the way we set-up, it was obviously going to be a tight affair, because the two systems more or less cancelled each other out.

“For the away team, I thought we were in control, we didn’t really look under too much pressure, you get the goal and then you want to make sure you don’t give them any encouragement to get back into the game.

“Obviously Neil Kilkenny is going to rue not putting it into row z, he has done it a couple of times this season already, but he is a footballer and he wants to get it down and play, but he has obviously made a wrong decision today which has given them the opportunity to equalise and from then on it is an open game.

“We could have won it with some chances at the end, they could have won it at the end, but for large parts I thought we were comfortable and looked the dominant team.

“We knew we had to be at it, we passed the ball, a lovely surface to play on, we got into pockets, we maybe just didn’t get enough bodies into that 18 yard box at times, but we made a few changes just on the hour mark, with the two young kids coming on and then affected the game straight away and they gave us a bit more energy.

“We got the goal and you think, ‘let’s go and really make sure we are hard to beat and don’t give them any opportunities, make sure the decisions you make are the right ones’, but we gave them a soft goal which has ultimately let them back into the game.”

The draw leaves North End with it all to do in the quest for automatic promotion to the Championship, but Grayson insists his team will keep fighting all the way.

He continued: “We are not going to give up on the opportunity, but we even said before the weekend that it is really out of our hands what can happen.

“We will keep trying to win over the next five games, that’s all we need to do, we are still unbeaten again today, we have come to a difficult place and we have shown what we are capable of doing, so we will try and win our next five games and just see where it takes us, but the point gets us in the Play-Offs.

“We have got a determination and a character about us and we have got some good footballers who can hurt teams.

“We can defend, we can pass it properly, we have got people in and around the 18 yard box who are a threat and we have shown all them qualities again today, we have just been undone by a little bit of poor decision making.

“That’s the frustrating thing from our point of view, so far over the last few weeks, teams have not had to work too hard against us to score which is frustrating, but we have to learn from our mistakes.”

One note to come out of Saturday’s encounter is that John Welsh picked up his tenth booking of the season meaning he will now miss the home fixture with Carlisle United and the trip to Brentford.

But Grayson believes he has players capable of slotting into the team and also praised Jack King for getting on the score-sheet, his second goal of the season and both against Bristol City.

“It gives someone else the opportunity doesn’t it?” said the manager when asked about Welsh’s impending suspension.

He is obviously a competitive player, we have got one or two other players around that nine booking element as well, but it is just one of those things that happens and the two young kids that have come in today, 

Josh Brownhill and Alan Browne, they certainly showed what they are capable of doing and there is a bring future for both of them if they keep working hard.

“Jack King took his goal well, I thought it was a great layoff from Joe Garner in to him and he has smashed it in, it was a great goal and obviously a nice feeling for him to get on the score-sheet.

“He has played up front for us a few times in the last year and he has looked very comfortable at the back, so it is nice for him to get that goal, but obviously we should have tried to build on that.”

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