Preston North End head coach accepts Deepdale defeat to Cardiff City will see increased criticism come his way

Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy admitted more criticism would come his way in the wake of the home defeat to Cardiff City.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 6:26 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th November 2021, 6:30 pm

The Lilywhites made a great start to to the clash at Deepdale, taking the lead inside the second minutes through Sean Maguire.

They went on to have the better of the first half but didn't add to Maguire's goal.

Cardiff were a different proposition in the second half, bossing large parts of it as North End had done in the first.

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Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy on the touchline with Cardiff's Steve Morison

Two set pieces saw the Bluebirds turn the game in their favour, Mark McGuinness heading home from a free-kick to score the equaliser before substitute James Collins headed the second after a corner had been delivered into the middle.

Defeat followed the 3-0 loss at Nottingham Forest before the international break, a result which saw McAvoy attract plenty of criticism from the supporters.

McAvoy said: "We want to be higher up the table we are 16th with 21 points. Deepdale has been a good place for us in terms of getting points and results.

"I have got faith and trust in the group in there, today is a sore one. We have two games coming up, Middlesbrough on Tuesday night and Fulham back here next Saturday.

Mark McGuinness celebrates scoring Cardiff's equaliser

"We have to work hard, try and rectify the mistakes and be a bit more clinical going forward.

"I would have hoped to be higher up the table, we are not so I can't make any excuses about it, we are where we are.

"I'm here until such time people say I'm not. I will give it my utmost and my best.. I try and do that every day when I come into work and try and get the players to do that.

"The disappointing part was that we showed a bit of vulnerability when the ball came in the box which hasn't been the case of us.

"I accept the criticism which comes my way, I wanted to win the game but didn't."

This was a first home defeat in the Championship for North End since the opening day of the season against Hull City.

The chances of losing the game looked remote in the first half as Maguire's early goal gave McAvoy's men confidence to push forward and attack.

Reflecting on the game, McAvoy said: "We conceded a free-kick for the first and then they scored from the corner kick which I think is the first goal we have conceded from a corner this season - that is bitterly disappointing.

"We knew set pieces are something Cardiff are extremely good at, about 60% of their goals have come from set plays.

"We just needed to make sure we were strong enough to deal with those balls coming into the box. Unfortunately we weren't.

"When we were 1-0 up at half-time we knew we needed a second goal.

"We tried to get the lads to do in the second half what they had done in the first half, makes the blocks, be extremely aggressive going forward and hopefully be clinical.

"Unfortunately it wasn't to be, I'm bitterly disappointed we lost it, especially to two set plays which generally we are good at defending.

"AHead of the game we'd done a lot of work. We felt we could hurt Cardiff with Sean Maguire sinking off, with Alan Browne, Emil Riis and Tom Barkhuizen breaking forward, Ali McCann too.

"In the main we did really well in the first half and maybe were a bit unfortunate not to get a second goal

"Then not dealing with the set plays hurt us. We didn't do well enough in the second half, we gave the ball away cheaply.

"I felt a big difference is when the ball went forward, Cardiff kept it alive and we didn't in the second half.

"We changed it to go three up top to see if that would help us. We had a lot of the ball in the last part of the game."

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