Ched Evans said the Preston North End squad weren’t left too disheartened by the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, feeling they defended well in the main against the Premier League side.
North End – who hosted Antonio Conte’s side in front of a packed-out Deepdale – went into half-time of the Emirates FA Cup fourth round tie goalless, having limited the visitors to very few chances.
In the second half, however, the quality of the opposition showed, as Heung-Min Son scored two good goals to give his side the lead, before Arnaut Danjuma scored on his debut off the bench.
Ched said: “The performance was okay; the effort was there.
“I thought we could have created a bit more, but if you look at the game they’ve scored three really good goals and, from our point of view, we defended really well.
“But when you’re playing against players like that, sometimes they’re impossible to stop, so credit goes to the finishes.
“The changing room wasn’t that disheartened. Obviously we look at the league now and we look to Saturday at home against Bristol City and three points is the objective there.”
Ties such as these give Championship sides the opportunity to test themselves against some of the world’s top players, who ultimately they would like to be facing week in, week out in the top flight.
For Ched – who won the EPIC Risk Management man of the match award – he put himself against the likes of Davinson Sánchez and did more than enough to come away from that particular duel with pride.
“You want to test yourself against the best, not every week,” he joked, “but once in a while is always nice.
“I think it’s a nice reminder to see what the quality is like in the Premier League and we know as a team and as a club for us to get there we’ve got to be up there.
“If we can apply ourselves defensively like that in the league and create a few more chances, who knows? We could be there next year.”
North End will be looking to bridge that gap between themselves and the promotion places in the Championship this weekend, when they take on Bristol City.
It’s a game which the attention has already turned to, as far as Ched’s concerned, and the 34-year-old forward has a clear goal in mind.
He said: “I think for us we need to improve our home form. There’s no ifs or buts about it.
“We go away and get the results which is brilliant, but ultimately we want to be doing that at home and we want to be scoring goals at home and getting wins to repay the loyalty which the fans are showing.
“So, for us, it’s a pretty massive game, so we’ll be up for it that’s for sure.”