Preston North End head coach blames poor defending for Championship defeat to Reading

Frankie McAvoy highlighted poor defending as the reason behind Preston North End's 2-1 defeat to Reading.

Both of the Royals' goals were bad ones to give away from PNE's point of view, Femi Azeez giving the home side the lead in the first half.

Daniel Johnson brought North End level from the penalty spot an hour in, only for them to ship a second goal eight minutes later when John Swift's shot hit both posts on the way in.

Lilywhites head coach McAvoy said: "I'm disappointed we lost the game.

Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy during the defeat at Reading

"I didn't think we did well enough in the first half but the second half was a big improvement from us.

"Both goals defensively from our point of view were poor. When you concede goals like that it is going to be difficult.

"I don't like having a go at officials because they have a tough job but it looked like a free-kick for a foul on Scotty Sinclair in the build-up to the second goal.

"Even then, there's still 70 yards for them to travel with the ball and it was too easy for them.

Daniel Johnson composes himself before taking PNE's penalty at Reading

"A few times when Reading banged the ball over the top, we looked a bit fragile to that which was disappointing because generally in the past we have been good and solid.

"At the end of the day we've had plenty of chances at the other end and unfortunately we have lost the game."

North End rallied at 2-1 down, having their best spell of attacking play late on.

Alan Browne found the side-netting with a header, before substitutes Brad Potts and Ben Whiteman both forced Reading keeper Rafael into good saves in stoppage-time.

McAvoy said: "When we changed it and put Pottsy up top I thought we started to hold the ball up a a bit better, we started to get our wing-backs higher up the pitch.

"That became better for us.

"In the first half I thought their front two caused our back three more issues than our front two caused their back three.

"They picked up more balls in the middle of the pitch. Defensive we looked a bit naïve and a bit tentative at times.

"For the first goal it was Jordan Storey who took it out of the sky and had a poor first touch from which they broke. It was poor defensively.

"The second was just as bad, I can't stand here and defend poor goals. We have to get better at that.

"Goals changed games, Their second goal was a killer for us.

"When we equalised you could see we had the momentum and I was pretty comfortable then. Unfortunately we didn't defend it properly."

McAvoy was without Ched Evans and Tom Barkhuizen for the game.

"Ched had a knock on his foot and Tom is self-isolating so we won't have him back for Tuesday night,"