Preston North End boss Alex Neil refuses to be over-critical of Connor Ripley after goalkeeping errors in FA Cup defeat to Norwich

Preston North End manager Alex Neil steered away from overly criticising goalkeeper Connor Ripley after the FA Cup defeat to Norwich City.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 4th January 2020, 6:43 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th January 2020, 6:44 pm
Preston goalkeeper Connor Ripley
Preston goalkeeper Connor Ripley

Ripley was at fault for the second and third Norwich's goals in their 4-2 reverse at Deepdale.

The keeper, who came into the side as one of nine changes made by Neil, also conceded the penalty for the Canaries' fourth goal.

But there was no chucking 26-year-old Ripley under the bus by Neil.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil

"It is always difficult, when you are playing in goals it is the one position on the pitch where mistakes are highlighted," said Neil.

"Outfield players will make many mistakes and they go unnoticed, the goalie can make one mistake or two mistakes and the whole stadium sees them.

"It was really tough for him. He hasn't played a lot of football, he was desperate to get his chance and he knows himself what happened.

"Connor understand he has made a couple of errors."

North End were 3-0 down by half-time to the Premier League's bottom side.

Billy Bodin reduced the deficit early in the second half but Adam Idah completed a hat-trick from the penalty spot to make it 4-1. Josh Harrop pulled it back to 4-2 late on.

Neil said: "If you were splitting it first half and second half then the second half was much improved in terms of how we went about it.

"The strange thing was that in the first half we had some good spells but the first goal was far too simple.

"We vacated that space in the middle which we wanted to keep nice and solid, we got dragged into areas we shouldn't have done.

"Marco Stiepermann broke but one ball split the whole defence and we really should have seen that through, it was two versus one at the back.

"From that point it become tough.

"Having watched it back, one thing which disappointed me was that it was offside in the build-up to the second goal.

"We stepped out, they put a ball in behind and Connor saved, it was a yard offside.

"The fourth goal was offside as well, leading to the penalty.

"The trouble is that in the Premier League the assistants don't really make decisions anymore, they have VAR to fall back on.

"We didn't have VAR to fall back on today."

"Having said that the first half we wanted to do better defensively.

"The second half we created some better chances but equally it is easier to do that when you are trailing."