Alex Neil felt injuries hit Preston North End in their defeat to Queens Park Rangers

Preston's Paul Huntington and Alan Browne complain to referee Andy Davies about the award of the penalty for QPR's second goal
Preston's Paul Huntington and Alan Browne complain to referee Andy Davies about the award of the penalty for QPR's second goal

Preston North End manager Alex Neil said the absence of key players was costly in his side's 2-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers.

Two goals from Ebere Eze gave QPR victory at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil

Preston North End manager Alex Neil

North End rarely looked like getting anything out of the game and this was a fourth defeat on the bounce, with them now not having scored for 400 minutes of action.

Neil said: "We had five players that missed the game who have started most of the games this season, Paul Gallagher, Daniel Johnson, Patrick Bauer, Ben Davies and Darnell Fisher.

"Although some lads have come in and done fine, it naturally had a knock-on affect because those lads are still getting used to playing together.

"It has been a difficult spell for us and it has coincided with losing quite a few players."

PNE trailed from the 17th minute, Eze getting beyond the defence to score at the second attempt after Declan Rudd parried his first shot.,

His second was a penalty in the 67th minute after Rudd was adjudged to have tripped Marc Pugh in the box, a decision Neil lablled 'dubious'.

"I thought in the first half we didn't really do too much going forward," said Neil.

"We probably had two opportunities, the first when Ben Pearson slid Sean Maguire down the side and the keeper makes a good block, then one when Andrew Hughes swings it to the back post and it comes back across. It was disappointing in that sense.

"The second half was a bit better, we moved the ball better and a looked a bit more threatening.

"I didn't think there were huge amounts in the game, Eze played well for them and Ben Pearson played really well for us.

"The key moments which came up in the game, QPR took.

"I thought the penalty was a dubious one as well. The referee apparently said to the lads he wasn't quite sure, hence the reason why he went to speak to his linesman.

"The linesman said he didn't see it. I'm not sure how you give a penalty if you are not sure.

"I've looked at his view and there were at least six bodies in front of him. If it proves to be a penalty then fine, I have no issue.

"But I just think in the last two games that is a couple of times that people have guessed.

"That sort of took the wind out of sails. We had made a change and looked a bit more threatening, looked like we were getting on top of the game.

"As soon as the second goal went in, it became doubly difficult."