'Being honest' - What Ryan Lowe said immediately after Preston North End's loss to Norwich City

Ryan LoweRyan Lowe
Ryan Lowe
PNE were beaten 0-1 by Norwich City on Saturday afternoon

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe was disappointed to see his side’s play-off push all but end on Saturday afternoon - but remained proud of his players.

The Lilywhites lost 0-1 to direct, top six rivals Norwich City. It was Gabriel Sara who landed the sucker-punch, in the 86th minute, as the Canaries took all three points at Deepdale. North End’s chances of reaching the play-offs now look over, but Lowe wasn’t too deflated post-match and felt, on the day, his team deserved something.

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“Mixed emotions, really,” said Lowe. “Disappointed with the result; pleased and proud of the boys, for everything they have given all season. We have fallen a little bit short. It hasn’t been for the lack of trying, effort, desire or commitment - everything I like was definitely there. It is that final bit, in both boxes, isn’t it? But, as I say, I am always proud of the boys. I thought we were the better team really, if I am being honest - especially first half, we had some good moments. In the second half, they had the ball a bit more; we were ready to pounce and go.

“Set-plays caused them a bit of trouble, we just didn’t capitalise on it. And then we tried to get as many attacking players on the pitch as we could, because even a draw would’ve been no good. It was our aim to win. There was a little bit of a mix-up with the goal - two players going for one ball, then he has a bit of luck and Fred actually gets a hand to it. Jordan couldn’t sort his feet out to maybe clear it, so it was a scruffy goal - a bad goal to concede on our behalf. Moments like that sometimes go against you and that’s what has happened today.

“It was in our thoughts to change shape a bit, to get those (forward) players on the pitch if we really needed to go for it. It might’ve been the broken English, but (Osmajic) was supposed to be on the right of a three, at the top end of the pitch - with Emil on the left. There were a few moments and we huffed and puffed. The lads were out on their feet as well, with the games that’ve been coming thick and fast for them.

“They have given it everything, just lacked that bit of quality in both boxes. The lads who have been playing, Emil was always going to need a rest. He looked shattered. Browney has hardly trained, Jack Whatmough was fantastic in the middle of the park and Duano hasn’t played as much. After 70/75 minutes, you see them getting tired. They gave us everything and that’s what I want from my players. They are a good team, but I thought the game plan worked a treat.

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“We changed one or two things at half time, to stop them playing through - Sargent was dropping into pockets, getting on the half turn and McClean was spinning balls around the side. That stopped; we knew they would have a bit more possession than us and we wanted them to force mistakes. They didn’t really open us up, as such - the goal is a mistake. I don’t like those goals, because I’d rather be ripped open in a passage of play and they put one in the top bin. That hasn’t been the case. But, they’ve always learned and bounced back from it. We have to take it and learn.”

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