Preston North End's defeat to Queens Park Rangers was a 'missed opportunity' says Alex Neil

Preston North End manager Alex Neil admitted the 3-1 defeat to Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale was a missed opportunity.

Saturday, 7th March 2020, 6:45 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th March 2020, 9:06 pm

They tossed away a 1-0 lead given to them by Daniel Johnson from the penalty spot, conceding three goals after the hour mark.

Two of QPR's goals came when the London outfit had been reduced to 10 men after a red card for midfielder Geoff Cameron.

Neil said: "We started the game great, we were on the front foot.

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Preston manager Alex Neil at the end of the QPR defeat

"We got the penalty, got the goal, Sean Maguire had a good chance in the first half too when he hit the post.

"With the amount of times we got in behind them we should really have been more than one goal ahead.

"That is a problem where we have not capitalised on our dominance in the first half, I don't think QPR had a shot on target.

"They made a couple of changes at half-time and were much more aggressive in the second half in terms of trying to play on top of us.

QPR midfielder Geoff Cameron is sent-off against PNE for a foul on Darnell Fisher

"The game was much more even up to about 60 minutes, they were more than competitive than they had been in the first half.

"Then we gave away the free-kick and we didn't defend our back post which was really disappointing.

"If someone gets in above you and power a header in, at times you will get beat there. But the fact the lad just pops inside us and puts it in the corner was something we had warned about.

"That changed the dynamic of the game, it was 1-1 at that stage and naturally we get a little bit edgy having been leading.

"After that, Sean had a great opportunity with the header. I'm not quite sure what Sean has done at the moment but he's just so unfortunate.

"His header he can't do much more with, he guides it over the goalkeeper, hits the bar and as he goes to follow it in he misjudges it.

"That was the defining minute in the game. If that goes in it takes the wind out of their sails and the likelihood is we go on and win the match.

"We missed it and we think 'opportunity missed'."

Neil saw the spell after Cameron's red card as being defining.

Shortly after he had to substitute Paul Gallagher because of a calf injury, bringing on Jayden Stockley.

Neil said: "QPR went down to 10 men and one of the biggest issues for me at that stage was Gally who could be so influential when teams are down to 10 men, I have to take off because he was struggling with his calf.

"When we took Gally off, we went two up front to try and force the issue but to be honest it hindered us more than helped us.

"I didn't think we worked the ball well enough in the middle because Gally had gone off and I thought when we played it forward, QPR headed everything out and countered us.

"Their second goal is a bit of quality. It was poor defending from us but the lad has lifted it up over Declan Rudd and off the underside of the bar.

"From that point we had to force the issue, we left ourselves vulnerable.

"Ebere Eze's goal was another bit of quality.

"It was an opportunity missed. There is a lot running through my head at the minute about how it got to that stage.

"We probably had seven or eight players who were excellent in the first half and a couple of them died out in the second half.

"You are never going to dominate for the whole game so you need to capitalise when youo are on top.

"That has been an issue for us lately, we were really dominant for 30 minutes against Fulham and didn't score, dominant against Millwall for 30 minutes and didn't score.

"For the first half today were really dominant but didn't capitalise as much as we should have."