Preston North End manager Alex Neil was left frustrated after Derby County took the three points in the Lilywhites’ 5,000th Football League game at Deepdale.
Wayne Rooney’s first half free kick gave the Rams the win, despite North End dominating the second half and throwing everything at their opponents.
Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, the gaffer said: “I’m frustrated and disappointed as much as anything today. I thought, certainly in second half, the performance was very good and even in the first half we a couple of decent chances, but struggled at times to deal with their passing the ball out from the back.
“Interestingly, their two best chances actually came off two ricochets that fell into their path and then they broke off the back of that.
“The frustrations are firstly the free kick that gets given for the actual goal; if you look at it back, I don’t think it is a foul by any means and what’s frustrating is that we didn’t get one in the second half that is very similar with Scott Sinclair going into the same area – and then Wayne Rooney creates a bit of quality for the goal. At that point we needed to rally and really go and be the force for the next goal.
“In the second half we were right on to; I thought we threw caution to the wind as much as we could; we added a lot of attacking players to the pitch, but the ball didn’t really drop for us.
“We got in good areas, we looked quite threatening, it was just that final little bit of quality; that final pass or just getting on the end of something and we didn’t manage to do that.”
For the second game in a row PNE were left extremely upset by some of the key decisions in the game; as well as the free kick decision, there was a strong shout for a first half penalty for a late challenge on Alan Browne.
“Those ones are quite difficult at times, because Alan gets his shot away and then the lad [Matthew Clarke] catches him and dependent on how the referee sees it will determine whether it is a penalty or not,” continued Alex.
“But I don’t think we got a lot of those 50/50 decisions tonight, so it wasn’t really a surprise that we didn’t get it.”
The second half substitutions saw the Lilywhites throw caution to the wind, putting on a series of attacking players, but they couldn’t force an equaliser, despite even Declan Rudd adding to the attacking options in injury time.
“We wanted to go and try and force the issue. We know they are a good passing team, so we knew we had to be set up to do that press and we struggled with that a bit, which is not like us, but it improved a lot.
“The lads coming on added a fresh impetus to us and got us on the front foot, but it is disappointing when it is your goalkeeper getting on the end of a corner right at the death to give us one of our chances,” added the North End boss.
To watch more from the manager, as he reflected on the game and result and looked ahead, click on the video at the top of the page.