Manager Simon Grayson went into the Capital One Cup tie with AFC Bournemouth looking for a reaction to the loss at Brentford and that’s what he got.
The North End boss spoke to PNE PlayerHD after his side’s agonising penalty shoot-out loss to the Premier League side and felt that the performance had been what he had asked for following the trip to Griffin Park the previous weekend.
“We are immensely proud of what the players have done tonight,” he told the Club’s online TV channel. “We were up against a Premier League team, who have got some great qualities – they have athleticism about them, they have pace and power, some clever players and to play in the way we did in response to the weekend was obviously what I was looking for.
“Full credit to the players that they kept going right to the very end. We conceded, got back into it, suffered another setback, but we kept going, showed a lot of desire, a good attitude and ultimately we came up short on the penalties, but that’s the way it can be some times.
“In the first half they played well and moved the ball very quickly, but we did what we needed to do. Players were on the front foot, we passed it and got in amongst them a little bit more after the break.
“We kept on going though and ultimately penalties are a lottery, but we are very proud of what they did tonight after the disappointment of the weekend.”
Daniel Johnson’s penalty at the death – his fourth goal of the season - took the game to spot kicks, but the extra-time was brought about after Jordan Hugill grabbed the initial equaliser with just five minutes of normal time remaining.
The Teeside-born striker scored his first goal for the Lilywhites since his knee injury 12 months previous and the manager was pleased with the impact of his No.25.
“You know what you are going to get from Jordan,” he continued. “He owed the Club, the supporters and his team-mates that for what happened at MK Dons. We got Reidy and Marnick on as well to add to what we had already been doing.
“The lads who came into the team did well and we had some outstanding performances. Alan Browne, Bailey Wright and Will Keane all showed what they were about and it is a great learning curve for players. Everyone who played tonight has put forward a case for the weekend.”
And after a win and a draw against two Premier League teams this season, it came down to the dice-throwing of penalties to decide the fate of North End’s 2015/16 Capital One Cup campaign.
“Penalties are a lottery; there is only ever one hero in these things and that is a goalkeeper.
“We have said to the players who missed them to forget about it, they have to remember all the positives they did in the game.
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“We have a few recovery days now to prepare for the weekend,” he added.