Simon Grayson delivered a ‘must do better’ message to his Preston North End players in the wake of their narrow win over Oldham at Deepdale
The result apart, Lilywhites boss Grayson had little to smile about on Saturday as PNE laboured to victory against a lively Latics side.
Jack King’s fourth-minute goal settled the game, the 29-year-old finding the roof of the net with a tidy finish from Tom Clarke’s knock down.
North End just about had the upper hand until half-time but after the interval played second fiddle to their visitors.
Grayson said: “We did not stop Oldham from playing and we did not pass the ball with a tempo.
“Both sides played the same system with one striker dropping off behind the other.
“But it was Oldham who got into better areas and used the ball better than us.
“We have to make sure that in future we are braver on the ball and play quicker football because we were a bit slow in our build-up, which is not how I want us to be.
“I thought we started the game at a good tempo and got the goal nice and early.
“For a time we built on that, we did okay and they did not cause us too many problems in the first half.
“In the second half, they did cause us problems and we needed to deal with that a lot better than we did.
“Oldham passed it quicker than us and had good energy about the pitch
“I want us to pass the ball with more purpose – I want my team to play like Oldham did with purpose and energy.
“At times we were below standard and the only real positive to take out of the game was the result.”
Grayson gave goalscorer King a pat on the back for his finish.
This was his first start of the season after coming on as substitute in the last two games, at Scunthorpe and Doncaster.
“Jack was in the right place at the right time – he is a good footballer,” said Grayson.
“He’s played in numerous positions – predominantly at centre-back for me – but he got his chance in midfield here.
“I thought he would give us that defensive stability in front of the back four. His size and presence helped us.”
The inclusion of King was one of three changes made by Grayson to the side which had drawn at Doncaster in midweek.
King took over from Neil Kilkenny, Alan Browne’s place went to Andy Little, with Scott Laird getting the nod over Ben Davies at left-back.
“I just thought that we needed something a little bit different,” said Grayson.
“Ben Davies had been doing really well and I told him before the game that it was nothing that he had done which had led to him being left out.
“He has had that trust and belief from me in getting the shirt for the first few games of the season.
“For this game I felt Lairdy would give us something a bit different – you bring in players to try and get the best out of the team.”
Jordan Hugill got his PNE league debut as a 69th-minute substitute, catching the eye with an all-action display.
Said Grayson: “Jordan made a big impact and I put him on because we needed to get behind them a lot more.
“He will get fitter and stronger because he has not played a lot of football yet as a professional. This run out will have done him good.”
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