Preston North End boss admits Middlesbrough were better than they expected and counts his side out of play-off race
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Chuba Akpom opened the scoring in the first half and Michael Carrick’s men took a slender lead into the break before former PNE man Cameron Archer netter a second half double to take the game away from the visitors. Bambo Diaby was sent off just a few minutes before the end of the game and Boro still had time to take advantage of their extra man as Marcus Forss made it four.
It was a special occasion for North End fans as they celebrated their annual Gentry Day in memory of those connected with the club who have passed away over the last 12 months, though the football did not live up to the billing.
Lowe was disappointed with what his side offered on the day, knowing what it meant to the Lilywhites’ faithful.
He said: “It was a tough afternoon. I'm gutted really, with the day all round and Gentry Day - the fans were brilliant, singing in their numbers. We knew it was going to be tough but it was a little bit tougher than I expected.
"What I will say is we've been on a fantastic run of seven games unbeaten, some good wins, some good draws fighting back. I thought today we didn't make enough tackles.
"They're a good team, Middlesbrough, we know that, they're on a crest of a wave but the goals we conceded were not what we would expect to concede and we're disappointed with them.”
Preston have been within a few wins of the play-off places for much of the season, and have spent a few games in the top six, but Lowe has officially counted his side out of the play-off race after the defeat.
He saw the heavy loss to Boro as a lesson of how good a side, and his side, needs to be in order to be near the top of the table.
Lowe said: “We can't be too down because the lads have been on a fantastic run but I think today shows that's why we're not play-off contenders because you have to come here and perform to the levels, to have a chance of being promotion contenders.
"We were nowhere near the level today but having said that the lads have been fantastic. It's one we can dust ourselves down very quickly, there is a little bit of a break now for us then we go into a derby in two weeks time hoping to put that right.”