Simon Grayson believes that his Preston North End charges just didn’t get the breaks against Sheffield United at Deepdale.
Despite dominating proceedings, PNE were held to a 0-0 draw by the Blades and the gaffer was left frustrated that the breaks just didn’t go the way of his team.
Speaking to the press at full-time, Grayson said: “We are hugely frustrated because we played very well tonight, dominated the game against a very strong, resilient Sheffield United side who are on a good run at this moment in time and when you look back on the stats and you have 61 per cent of the game, 20 attempts at target, you couldn’t ask for much more from the players apart from the one thing that wins football matches and that’s scoring goals.
“We just didn’t quite get the breaks tonight, there was some good play, but we just didn’t get the breaks when we needed them.
“At this stage in the season, we need to win games to try and catch that top two.
“We picked a team last Tuesday night to go to Stevenage and do a job there and I have picked a team tonight to have a bit more energy about us, a bit more creativity, because we knew that Sheffield United would sit back and get bodies behind the ball and we needed different types of players to try and open them up.
“We did that for large parts when you look at the opportunities that we have had tonight, we could have won a couple of matches, but as I said earlier, we just didn’t quite get the breaks, a blatant penalty that we didn’t get in the first half and other things just didn’t quite drop in that 18 yard box.”
Grayson was left bemused by a strong PNE penalty claim in the first half which the referee failed to award, when Bailey Wright seen his shot smack of the arm of United midfielder Michael Doyle; a handball everyone inside Deepdale seen except for the man that matters most.
A decision which left the gaffer feeling perplexed.
“A lot of the time, we weren’t getting decisions going our way, probably sums up his performance when Joe Garner gets booked for handball when it’s Bailey Wright, so hopefully something is done about that,” continued Simon.
“When you look at the incident in the first half with the penalty, it is a clear penalty.
“Michael Doyle knows what he is doing, its hit him, it is not as if his hands are just at the side of him, he has actually stretched them out and it is heading towards goal, so that is the difference, that we didn’t quite just get the breaks, but everything else was very pleasing against a very strong team.”
The Lilywhites are now seven points behind second placed Brentford who have two games in hand, but the manager insists that winning every match and continuing to put pressure on the teams above PNE in the table is the target.
Grayson added: “There is nine games to go and we want to win as many as possible, we will be kicking ourselves if we slacken off and teams start dropping points, so we will be all out to win every game as we have done all season and if we can’t catch the top two, then you say well done to them whoever it may be and then we go in to the Play-Offs and we will be confident going in to that because we have got a good group here and if we don’t manage to see it through by getting to the top, then we will go into the Play-Offs with confidence that we can go and get promoted that way.
“We have got the players that can win matches for us and we will just see where that takes us.
“We go to Swindon now at the weekend looking to get three points.
“Any other season, you look at the points tally, you won’t have needed half as many to be fair as the top teams.
“It has been a standard set of a very high standard by the teams that are up there and full credit to them, so we will just keep going and if we can win nine out of nine then we still might have a chance.”