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First Team News

Simon Grayson Says Team Learnt From Brentford Game

9 February 2017

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson looked ahead to this weekend’s clash with Dean Smith’s Brentford and said his team has learnt from their chastening experience at Griffin Park.

The Lilywhites succumbed to a heavy defeat in West London after going down to ten men due to an injury to Marnick Vermijl, having used all their substitutes, but after a clear week to prepare for the return game, the gaffer is looking forward to facing the Bees once again.

“This week has been good,” said the PNE chief. “All the preparation has been geared to trying to beat Brentford at the weekend.

“You sometimes get teams where you don’t have much luck against them, but ultimately that luck and record can change.

“Going back to earlier this season, there was nothing in the game really, but we made a couple of mistakes and then had a crazy 15 minutes and the scoreline reflected that short spell in the game.

“It was something we learnt from, because we went on a great run after that.

“We will set our stall out this weekend, make it difficult for them and ultimately our key players are on form and produce good moments to go and win us the game.”

The reaction of the North End squad after that loss was something the boss believes highlighted their true character and is not something they will be thinking about this afternoon.

“As a manager you put a squad together that you hope will react when you encounter situations like that – that’s why you brought them to the football club,” Simon continued.

“They can’t expect things to just go really well and be on a permanent upward curve; you are tested when they don’t go your way. So when you lose 5-0 and the away supporters are near the tunnel, it is not easy for anybody.

“But I am too long in the tooth to worry about that too much, it is part of my job; however, for players it tests them and they have shown the qualities of why they are at this football club, to go on the run that they did after that – which is fantastic.

“It was a long time ago now. If the players want to use it as motivation, that is up to them, but ultimately the only motivation I will be putting to the players is wanting to go and win a game of football and playing to the best of their ability to keep the shirt for the game against Birmingham City on Tuesday night.

“Whether it is Brentford, Birmingham or Wigan after that, their aim should be to try and cement a place in the team by playing at the very top of their game.”

The Griffin Park outfit arrive in fine fettle, after two good results and performances following the sale of top scorer Scott Hogan to Aston Villa for over £12m.

“I think they are a team that sums up the division, in terms of their results, but having watched their last two games, where they thumped Aston Villa and absolutely destroyed them and then Brighton on Sunday, where they were very close to going 3-0 up and having a very comfortable afternoon, they have some good players.

“They play a very fluent style of football where they pass and move and get into little pockets and areas. So it might have to be one of those games where we are patient, because they might have a little bit more of the ball than we would like them to have.

“That’s just how they play – but it is down to what happens in both boxes as to the outcome. We have to ask questions of them when we get into the top half of the pitch and be ruthless in our box to keep the ball out of the back of the net,” added the manager.


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