Preston North End attacker Tom Barkhuizen is ready to put behind him the controversial disappointment of Monday night and look positively ahead to a trip to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium this weekend.
The Lilywhites’ No.29, reflecting on the late defeat to table-toppers West Bromwich Albion, felt the team needed to look at the bigger picture and not be downcast by the nature of the penalty decision that cost them a point.
“Looking at the game on the whole, I don’t think we deserved to win the game, but we definitely deserved to get something out of it,” he told iFollow PNE.
“We limited them to half chances; they maybe had one good chance in the first half when the centre half should have scored at the back post, but apart from that they were all shots from outside of the box and we defended really well and when you at the game against Hull, that’s what we didn’t do.
“It is always good to come into the next game and be compact and difficult to beat and that was what we were trying to do and nick a goal on the break, but when decisions go against you like that, so late on, it is demoralising.
“We put in so much effort across the pitch and the ref hasn’t got a great view of it and if you aren’t 100 per cent sure, you can’t give it. We have watched it back and he [the referee] will have probably watched it back and it is a tough one to take, because that has cost us the game.
“It also leads to three defeats in a row, which is not what we want. A point could have turned the whole thing around; and yes, we are still in the top six and still looking at the bigger picture of having a good season so far, but things like that are tough to take.”
So will that frustration be a motivating factor come Saturday’s clash with Rangers? “Some players will use it as a motivator on Saturday and other players will be motivated anyway. Personally, I will forget about it – there is nothing we can do about it now.
“You can moan about it as much as you want, but it has gone now and we have to take it on the chin and hopefully something like that doesn’t happen to us on Saturday and we will get one that goes our way.”
Mark Warburton’s side have seen their form reflect North End’s of late and Barky expects a tough test: “They have been similar to us in many aspects, in that they went on a good run and have then fallen off a little bit in the last few games,” he continued. “They will be looking to do exactly the same as us and turn their form around.
“Like us at Hull, they suffered a heavy defeat last week, so it will be a tough game away from home, it always is, and they are pretty strong at home.
“They have got good players across the pitch; they have Eze, Jordan [Hugill] and Nahki Wells – players who can really hurt you – and we will have to play well to get something from the game.
“It will probably be a tactical game. We don’t know what our gaffer will want to do yet – whether we will go long or whether we will try and use a bit of pace and they will be doing the same, analysing what we have done the last few games – which has been different for each game – so it will be tough for both teams to figure out what the other is going to do.
“From our point of view, it is just a case of doing what we can do and showing what we are capable of, putting in the effort we did the other night and if we do that, then there is no reason we can’t get another three points.
“The fact that the West Brom game was on a Monday night was strange for us. You are used to having a Tuesday or a Wednesday game and working out how you recover, but we will do things right and we will do our preparation and the gaffer will show us what he wants us to do and we will give it our all.”
And with a run of three games in quick succession coming up, the former Morecambe man feels it is an opportunity to get the momentum moving in the right direction again.
“If you are winning, you are happy there is another game coming and if you lose a game, you want to rectify things very quickly.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that the other night after the Hull game, but there is another game coming quickly and more in succession after that and momentum can really swing.
“Looking at the bigger picture, there are 27 games left and a lot of points to play for. Teams are going to go through blips and we have hit an injury blip and a run of defeats blip at the same time, but we will come through it.
“We are not in the top six through luck; we are just going through a tough patch and I am sure we will come through the other side and hopefully still be in around it.
“We have put in so much effort for the first third of the season that don’t then want to lose four, five, six in a row and throw ourselves out of the mix, like we have done before, so it is just about staying focused, looking at the bigger picture, we are still in a good place, not worrying too much and going from there,” he added.