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Club News

Simon Grayson On Recent Reaction

29 September 2016

Manager Simon Grayson feels the spirit and character of his side has been very evident in the last week.

The North End boss has seen his team react to the loss at Brentford with three positive performances, four points and progress into the last 16 of the EFL Cup.

And speaking ahead of the final game before the second international break of the season, the gaffer said that the credit should go to the squad for turning things wrong and not hiding away from the criticism they faced after the game at Griffin Park.

“I have always known that we have a good spirit and character about us; you can put the Brentford game down to a mad 15 minutes at the office,” said Simon. “We haven’t had too many of them over the last three or four years since I have been here.

“Credit to the players for the way they have responded; one or two players could have crumbled, considering the criticism that has gone around, it would have been very easy to bury your head in the sand and let other people get back out there and try and put it right, but many of those who played last Tuesday, Friday and this Tuesday have tried to put right what went wrong.

“We can use that game to say ‘we won’t return to those levels again’. What we did the day after was say that we need to play with our heads as well as our hearts. Sometimes you need a kick up the backside to say you need to keep to your principles and make sure we play from the shape of the team and not let our standards slip again.”

The Lilywhites look to make it four games without defeat when Aston Villa make their first trip to Deepdale for 42 years and the manager says that everyone is motivated to keep the good run going.

“It is a game to look forward to,” he continued. “When the fixtures came out, a lot of people looked straight for the teams that had come down and looked at them as great games to be involved in.

“They have a full allocation; they are a team who spent a lot of money over the summer and are desperate to get back into the Premier League at the first time of asking. They have found it difficult so far, drawn a lot of games and when you are one of the big fish in the pond, everyone wants to beat you, that’s the problem that the three teams who have come down, face this year.

“Our players will be looking forward to it. Last year we had a really good record against the big teams who came to Deepdale and brought the big followings and hopefully we can have a similar level of performance and results to ones we had last year.

“I think our players have something to prove and they can raise their game. It should be like that every week, but it is not always easy to do that. Our supporters will be up for it as well and it is a great fixture. When you see the likes of Villa, Norwich and Newcastle coming to Deepdale, everyone looks forward to it.

“It is the last game before the international weekend and we want to finish in a positive manner. The last few results have been good and we want to carry that on and finish on a real positive note.”

The North End chief made 67 appearances for Villa in a two year spell in the second city; having made a million pound plus move from Leicester City in 1997.

He was part of Brian Little and John Gregory’s sides that sat at the top of the Premier League for a long spell and also had a run deep into the business end of the UEFA Cup in 1998, only losing to Athletico Madrid and Italian star Christian Vieri’s goal.

And he looks back favourably on his time at Villa Park: “I enjoyed myself there. I played in the latter stages of the UEFA Cup, we were top of the Premier League for a long time and they were good times.

“It is a massive football club to play for and be involved with, but I have had a few ex-clubs.

“It is about what I do with Preston North End that matters and we are looking forward to trying to get three points against anyone we play,” he added.


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