Tom Barkhuizen admitted there was frustration in the Preston North End camp after starting the Championship season with a 1-0 defeat against Swansea City, but said positives had to be taken ahead of a long season.
A tight game saw the visitors claim all three points when Morgan Gibbs-White scored from close range early in the second half and despite a sustained spell of pressure, Alex Neil’s side could not find an equaliser.
North End’s No.29, making his 150th appearance for the Lilywhites this afternoon, told iFollow PNE after the game that the close nature of the game was typical of a Championship contest.
“First half was a typical season opener, both teams trying to figure out the other, there wasn’t really much in it, no one really had any chances in, but I think that’s quite typical of most Championship games – unless someone scores an early goal it’s always a bit of a cagey affair,” he said.
“Naturally, the game opens up but obviously from our point of view, we’ve conceded a pretty poor goal and then they’ve sat in in a back five and we couldn’t quite get a equaliser.
“It’s a little bit frustrating, I’ve had a chance, the ‘keeper saves it and it falls to them, every shot on the edge of the box seemed to get blocked. Is it bad luck or good defending? Probably a little bit of both.
“We need to keep our heads up, I’ve no doubt the gaffer will analyse the game over this evening and we’ll look through it tomorrow and see where we need to improve.
“We know they’re a strong team, let’s not forget they finished fifth or sixth last season. They’ve got some good players. It is what is, we’ve got to keep our heads up and go for Derby on Tuesday.”
Barkhuizen said there was some frustration as the Lilywhites saw shots blocked and crosses narrowly miss their target but said they would not be dwelling on the defeat.
“We huffed and puffed, put some good crosses in, did some good link-up play, but we couldn’t quite get the ball in the back of the net.
“It’s obviously frustrating when shot after shot gets blocked or a cross just evades someone’s head. We can’t be too down about it, it’s a long season, we know it’s going to be a tough season either way and we weren’t playing a team of mugs today, they’re a good team and unfortunately, they’ve beaten us 1-0.”
The 27-year-old agreed that Tuesday night’s trip to Derby County in the Carabao Cup will provide an ideal opportunity to bounce back.
“That’s what we want and I’m sure the fans will want the same,” he continued. “No doubt there will be a bit of doom and gloom because we’ve lost the first game but at the end of the day you’ve got to look to the bigger picture and realise it’s a long season.
“There were a few positives today, there’s obviously the negative of the goal but I don’t think [Connor Ripley] Rippers has had a save to make other than that.
“Defensively we were solid like we usually are and we’ve carved them open at times, so we need to look at the positives and look at how we can go forward from this.
“I’m sure the gaffer will make a few changes because the season is so condensed and you’re not going to be able to play Saturday Tuesday every week and you’re going to get the chance eventually. It’s how you take that.
“The gaffer will be looking to see how people react to not playing as well. We’ll see what we do on Tuesday, see what team he puts out and then we’ll go from there.”
Watch more from Barky on the video above.