Alex Neil stressed that it is his job to find a solution to rectify the home form of his Preston North End side, adding that he couldn’t fault his players for effort after their 2-1 home defeat against Birmingham City.
The Lilywhites fell behind to Riley McGree’s second-minute strike but drew level thanks to a fantastic Jayden Stockley equaliser and had chances to go ahead thereafter, but ultimately lost out to Gary Gardner’s header five minutes from time.
The manager told iFollow PNE that he felt his side did not deserve to lose but admitted that it has been a recurring theme on home soil in recent times.
“We didn’t [deserve to lose],” said Alex. “It seems to be a common theme at the moment at home. It’s frustrating, I think that the start of the game really is reckless from us; it’s a straight ball down the line and we don’t deal with it and within two touches the ball ends up in the back of the net.
“That makes it difficult because you know certainly having watched Birmingham, they’re going to make it tough for you, they’re going to sit deep and that was obviously part of what the team selection was today, to go to try and risk the ball, we’ve got a target so when we get wide we can put good crosses in, get width on one side roll in off another.
“But we used the ball okay first half, I didn’t think we used it as well as we should, and to be honest, Jayden scores a wonder goal to get us back into it and we probably needed something like that just to spark us.
“I thought after that, we had a couple of wee bits in and about the box; Tommy B flashes one across the box, Alan has a chance and sort of back heels it, I think Josh Harrop rolled in and had a shot over the bar. Second half, I thought we had a couple of good chances. The game at that stage was 1-1 and we had probably the two best chances of the match.
“Tom gets slid down, the ‘keeper makes a good save, and then from the resulting cross, Alan has a header that was very similar to their second goal.
“Worst case scenario, defend your box, see the game out, take a point and move onto the next one. It’s just bad defending. The ball comes into the box, Hughesy at that point can’t really move, he’s hurt his hamstring, we’ve made our subs, Darnell had to come off and we want to go and try to stretch the game with Emil to see if we can get in behind them. We don’t defend our header and it’s a sore one.”
The manager believes his side are creating enough chances to score the goals they need and is confident that his side’s fortunes will turn.
“Last season people talked about our first ten games, about how clinical we were – our expected goals were so much lower than what we scored.
“I would say at the moment, we should probably be scoring more goals and certainly defending better than what we’ve done. I think that’s my biggest frustration at the moment because chances come and go and you can miss chances, but I think defensively, that was definitely frustrating today.
“My job is to win games here, as well as it is anywhere else, and I’m not naïve or unaware of the fact that our home form has been poor. Nobody is more frustrated or disappointed than me. As far as the players go, they’re trying their best. I’m not looking at my players thinking they should be trying harder, they are trying their best.
“My job is to come up with a solution and the simple fact is at home, I haven’t done that, so I need to come up with a solution, because our away form has been excellent. I need to try and come up with something better for us to win at home and it really is as simple as that.
“Today I thought was in the balance and I think if we take some of our chances, it’s a different result. They’re honest lads, they give us their all, and we’ll be fine, we will turn it around at home.
“The thing is with football, what always happens is when you’re winning, everyone shares in the win, and when you’re losing, it falls on my shoulders – but that’s the job. I’ll get on with it and we’ll get better.”
Watch more from Alex by clicking on the video above.