What Ryan Lowe said immediately after Preston North End's heavy loss to Watford in frank verdict

Ryan Lowe Ryan Lowe
Ryan Lowe | CameraSport - Dave Howarth
Reaction from the PNE boss after the 1-5 defeat to Watford

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe was left stunned by Watford's destruction of his team in Saturday's 1-5 defeat.

The Lilywhites led through Will Keane's smart opener in the first half, but Vakoun Bayo headed in the equaliser just before half-time. Valerien Ismael's men then went on to score four second half goals with Matheus Martins, Ismael Kone and Edo Kayembe netting - as Bayo grabbed another.

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Post-match, Lowe was still deflated by the time he headed up to the press room just before six o'clock. He reinforced that he would stick by his players through thick and thin, but felt North End's mentality after conceding early in the second half was a key problem.

"I think we were fantastic first half, continuing where we left off," said Lowe. "We were on the front foot, scored a good goal and maybe could've scored a few more. Going in at half time we were thinking whether we could get back on the front foot and do the right things, which didn't materialise. From our kick-off we don't challenge, the ball comes back and forth and then one ball through the middle of us, kills us off. It's a one-on-one with Liam Lindsay, we don't deal with it well and I think it took the stuffing out of them.

"It's then gone three, four, five and then there possibly could've been another one. But, ultimately that cannot happen at any level, because you will get punished by good players. And that certainly was the case; we got punished big time. Of course, I'm not going to sit here and say it's not (a worry). I have stressed that with the players. We cannot go from being very good defensively and solid against a good team in Norwich, then going away to Huddersfield and performing the way we did - to that second half. That is a worry, yeah. I have stressed that with the players. They need to take responsibility for that.

"We all do, collectively. There is no blame culture. I am not saying it was his fault or anything like that. What I am saying is that individually and collectively, we've got to make sure that doesn't happen again. And how that doesn't happen is by people pulling people around on the pitch. At 1-3 we obviously made changes, to get more attacking players on the pitch - which left us a bit more open. But you've still got to be solid and compact and hard to break down. We weren't that at all, hence they got another few extra goals. I think, sometimes, we just don't have that confidence to really pick ourselves up once the second or third one goes in.

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"One of the lads in there said that we stopped doing the nitty gritty bits. We stopped (making) blocks. That is what we do, but we just haven't done that. We haven't got up to the ball; we dropped off, we sunk. We can be expansive, but still get your blocks away and put your body on the line - which they did. They went to a back five once they got three up and we made the changes, which is what people do. I don't know where it has come from, because to perform the way we did in the first half - a lot of people will probably say it was the best performance this season, for 40 minutes until they scored.

"To then come out and concede that goal, which is a gimmick isn't it? You don't see that on Sunday football, so maybe that's the mentality I sort of have to change - so it doesn't happen again. You've got to be solid, resolute and hard to break down. We definitely were not. We will have to get them in on Monday, debrief it and all discuss it. I won't tell you what one or two have said, but they put their hands up and said they could've done this or that - which is pleasing for me, because they are a good, honest group.

"I will always stick by them and believe in them. I was quite calm and collected. There is no point; I am not into all that, I don't want to be screaming and shouting. When I first came here, I shouted many times because I wanted them to know what I was about as a person, my character and what I am trying to achieve. That is my group of players and I'll stand by them. When we concede, you are a bit unsure what the reaction is going to be - whether that's from them or the fans.

"It's always tough. I thought the fans were different class today, even at 1-3 down. When the fourth goes in it then becomes a poisoned chalice and the place empties - we know that and understand that. We just haven't found that consistency in form, so that tells you that you aren't going to get where you want to - but we'll just keep trying and doing the right things. Second half, where we concede that goal I don't even know where it's come from - so I am going to have to do a lot of work with the players to find out. But, I know they are an honest group. I have just got to keep believing in them and sticking with them, because they've proven they can do it."

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