Preston North End manager Alex Neil said he and his team will work as hard as they can put things right after the defeat to Queens Park Rangers.
Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game the gaffer admitted feeling that his side have not reached the levels they are capable of in recent weeks, but was happy to have another game quickly to resolve matters.
“We are not reaching the levels we have shown in the last few games, and we need stick together and I said that to the players afterwards,” he said. “It is easy to point fingers, but four games ago everyone was talking about how great we were, so we just need to get our levels back and try and get something from the next game.
“The one thing about football is that with all the knocks and disappointments and everyone having their say, which they will, we have another chance to get it right.
“I can assure the fans, that nobody is as disappointed and frustrated as us and I will work as hard as I can, as will the players, to try and put it right.”
Reflecting on the game as a whole the PNE boss felt his side didn’t create enough in the first half: “I didn’t think there was a lot in the game. I thought first half, we weren’t very good in terms of getting into good areas and creating good chances, I thought we found it difficult,” he continued.
“The best chance came from Pearo sliding Seani down the side and they make a good block and there is another one that Hughesy puts to the back post and we head it back and nearly get on the end of it and Browney has one where he flashes it across the face of goal, so that’s three chances but in our play we didn’t get much joy from the direct ball.
“I thought we found it difficult to get our running tens in behind, we played in front of them a lot and in the second half it got better. We picked up a head of steam, it looked like we were getting on top of the game, we went really aggressive with the substitutes to try and to try and force the issue, because if you wait until 20 minutes from the end it goes too late, so I really wanted to try and go for it and get the next goal and unfortunately we got the penalty given against us.
“I think the penalty is disappointing from our point of view because we should have had a free kick in the far left corner that we didn’t get and then the resulting attack sees the penalty awarded. I have watched the penalty back about ten times and I find it difficult to decide if it is a penalty or not!
“Declan is adamant it has hit his foot first before he then touches the player and the referee had a really difficult view, so it is disappointing.
“Apparently, he said to the players that he thought it looked like a penalty so he wanted to confer with his assistant, and he tells him he doesn’t see it, so he can’t say anything, so I don’t know how you can give it then.
“If it is not conclusive in your own mind as a definite penalty then I don’t think it should be given. That is three penalties given against us recently and certainly the last one, against West Brom, has been proven not to be a penalty and what you can’t do as a referee is surmise or guess, ‘well it looks like one’, the rule of the law is that you have to be clear in your mind it is a definite penalty and that didn’t suggested to be the case when he was talking to the players.
"We were on top of the game at that point. We were looking more creative at the top end and Sean was getting in behind them more and late in the game Billy had a great strike that the keeper made a great save from, but I just think that we need to brush up on the basics at the moment.
“There was one spell in the second half where we made three square passes along the back line and then we kick it out for their throw in and it is back to them, but we just need to step in and play forward quicker.”
And with Daniel Johnson joining the list of key players unavailable, the manager explained that the changes were not helping.
“We are going to go through tough spells and it is a tough spell at the moment.
“We had five players missing today that generally start every game for us when available and it has been tough.
“To be fair to the lads who have come in, I think they have done fine, but naturally your team needs to adapt, as they are not used to playing with them every week and we have found that adaptation difficult.
“I feel sorry for some of the lads coming in, because, for instance, if you are coming in as a centre back, you want the guy next to you to have been playing every week, but we have had to put two players in together who have not been playing together and even in the centre of the pitch DJ and Gally have been playing regularly, but we are still better than we have shown,” he added.