Interim boss evaluates Deepdale defeatFollowing a 1-0 defeat at Deepdale, Royals interim manager Martin Kuhl was naturally disappointed with the result but felt that only more hard work can help the team turn the formbook around.
After an even first half, Joe Garner’s spot-kick put the Lilywhites in front after the break – and Reading couldn’t quite put the finishing touch on their chances by way of reply, as the fine margins that make the Championship such a compelling league were highlighted.
“We stayed in the game for the first 15 minutes and gradually got into it, and I thought we created some decent chances,” said Kuhl after the final whistle at Deepdale. “Some of the attacking play was just a fraction off being perfect. But we’re disappointed overall.
“The lads are down after a defeat – the Championship is a ruthless place. You have to stand up, compete and get about it – sometimes ability alone isn’t enough. But we worked hard and came away without anything to show for it today.
“You have to take the positives out of it all the time. We created some chances, we defended okay in the first half, and the penalty kills us. It’s the kind of game where if you stay in it, you take a point away."
The best of the Royals’ opportunities fell to Nick Blackman as Danny Williams sent him racing in on goal, but his shot missed the target as the chance to extend his goal tally went begging.
“We knew that it would be a difficult place to come because Preston compete and play their system very well. We had to stand up to that – I thought in the first half we did.
"In the second half we ran out of steam a little bit and yet in the last couple of minutes we had some chances – and Nick [Blackman] had a one-on-one with the goalkeeper; earlier in the season they were going in, and at the moment they’re not going in.”
"He goes through, you’re thinking go on, put it in and it goes just over. At the start of the season he could have shut his eyes and hit the back of the net. But that’s football."
The next opportunity to pick up a win comes on Wednesday when the team travel to Hull, and Kuhl wants the players to start expressing themselves and enjoying their football in order to get back to winning ways.
He continued, “We’re back in tomorrow and we’ll be preparing for Wednesday. It’s another tough away game but the lads have got to stand up and start enjoying playing the games and looking for the battles. That’s part of the game.
“But there is a good group in there – so we’ve got to get them going, find one or two right things to do better and work hard. We have to make sure we work harder, compete harder and if things aren’t going our way we have to stay in the games. We have to earn our luck.”
As interim manager of the club, Kuhl enjoyed the experience if not the result. "It was a fantastic experience. I wanted to kick every ball for them. It’s my job now to pick these players up and get them going again. They’re disappointed right now, but they’ve got to get over it.
"I’m sure the Board are trying to get something done on a new manager as quickly as possible and that the owners have a plan in place. They’ve been having meetings upon meetings, so I know a lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes."