Alex Neil felt his Preston North End team were outfought by Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup third round.
The Lilywhites fell 3-0 behind within the opening 25 minutes, and while Emil Riis pulled one back from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, it proved not enough to ignite a fightback from the visitors, with Alex Samuel sealing the Chairboys' 4-1 win eight minutes from time.
In an honest post-match assessment, the gaffer told iFollow PNE. “It’s not good enough. A lot of players got given an opportunity today that maybe haven’t featured as much as they would have liked of late and I think you’ve seen why if I’m being honest.
“We spoke about stopping crosses, we spoke about the big boy Ikpeazu, who played, not getting too tight. He scored a goal here the last time he played, cut inside, the lad got too tight, chops him and scores a goal. Within eight minutes, we’ve done both those things – didn’t stop the cross, got done at the back post, and then we get too tight, give the penalty away.
“It doesn’t matter whatever game you play – you’re 2-0 down after eight minutes and 3-0 down after 25 minutes from one long set play that we don’t defend – you’re not going to do anything.”
The feeling of being outfought, rather than outplayed, also irked the manager.
“It’s just purely basics, getting too tight to the ball, the lad rolls you and gets away from you, gets a penalty, you don’t get down line of the ball quick enough for the cross and they put the cross in.
“The third one is a 40, 50 yard ball. We lose the first header, don’t pick up the runner, and we drop the man in the middle of the box. All basics of the game. It’s disappointing.
“We’re out the game within 30 minutes, it really is as simple as that. Second half got a bit better. Having said that, we still don’t really do enough. I just felt that they caused us more problems going the other way in terms of keeping the ball alive.
“I thought that their centre backs were more aggressive than ours, we just didn’t do enough. We didn’t get out-footballed today, what we got, was we got outfought, which is even worse.
“If you’re a player that’s been on the periphery of things and wanting to come in and play, that’s the last thing that should happen to you because all that takes is effort and endeavour and making sure that you get the better of your man. That’s where we came up short.”
When asked about Jayson Molumby’s debut, the manager revealed that preparations were disrupted when some staff members had to reverse their trip south to the game, when one fell ill on route to Adams Park.
“When you make your debut, you want to feel your way into the game. You don’t really know the lads that well, he’s had one training session I think.
“I’m not making excuses for anybody, but today’s preparation disrupted in the fact that pretty much all my staff members aren’t here because one of them come down unwell, they’ve been in close proximity with others and they’re all on their way back before the game.
“That didn’t help and I don’t think it helps Jay either in terms of coming into the team and different things like that. At the end of the day, when you’re a player, you go onto the park to win the game, you go on the park to play well and show what you can do, and we didn’t do that well enough.”
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