Stoke City boss Michael O'Neil feels hard done by following defeat to Preston North End

Stoke City boss Michael O'Neil was feeling hard done by after his side were beaten 2-0 by Preston North End.

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 5:57 am
Stoke boss Michael O'Neil and PNE's Alex Neil share an embrace before the game.

The Potters had looked the better side for much of the first half, before a resurgent Preston took the lead from a set piece in the second half, the ball falling kindly for Alan Browne to turn it into the net.

PNE doubled their lead shortly after, in a similar scenario. Paul Gallagher's corner was cleared away before his second cross again deflected off a player - Ben Davies for both goals - and into the path of a waiting forward in a green shirt; Tom Barkhuizen getting number 11 of the season.

Despite losing out by two goals in the end, and staying just a place above the relegation zone, Stoke manager O'Neil felt the home side were as good as PNE.

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He said: "We do feel little it hard done-by.

"I thought we were more than a match for Preston in large portions of the game, ultimately we’ve been done off two set pieces.

"The first one we gave it away too easily. The second one is a second phase and the ball just drops in the right area for them, they have a man in the right area for them and that’s the difference in the game.

"In terms of shots and everything else we were the more dominant team. We just didn’t manage to get ahead and we were punished as a result of that."

For the Northern Irishman, the lack of Premier League experience in the PNE squad could play a part in their desire to win games.

Only four players in the North End squad have played in the top flight, whereas Stoke's boasts a host of former Premier League talent.

O'Neil said: "They’re a good team, they’re a team that is well constructed.

"They have a lot of hungry players in their squad that would relish the chance of playing in the Premier League, which gives them a real push for the position they’re in.

"They’ve come to play us is a good run of form as well which is testament to how well they’re doing.

"It shows you the difference in so many games in this league and how they’re decided.

"They’re a good team and I know Alex has done a good job there.

"From my point of view, when I look at my team, we’re more than a match for the teams in this position in the league."