Automatic Struggles?? - Aston Villa v Preston (20/2/18)
Following today's clash between Aston Villa and Preston North End, here are the instant reactions from both managers.
Aston Villa hosted Preston North End at Villa Park for a 7.45pm kick off on Tuesday February 20, with both sides playing out a score draw on the day.
The visitors opened the scoring shortly before the half time break and they will be more disappointed with the result than the hosts. Villan's will consider it two points dropped as they looked to get back into the automatic play off spots but arguably they were lucky to come away with a point after a soft penalty decision allowed Lewis Grabban to open his account for them in the 66th minute.
A simple look at the stats will tell the gulf in attacking intent. Villa edged possession slightly but only managed 12 efforts on goal with six on target, yet with less possession Preston created 21 chances, testing the hosts goalkeeper seven times.
Had Steve Bruce's side not rallied somewhat in the second half, it would've made even more disappointing reading for a side looking to get back to winning ways after defeat to Fulham. For Preston, their unbeaten run continues and Wolverhampton Wanderers disappointment hasn't derailed their recent efforts to push up the table.
Johnstone, Tuanzebe (Elmohamady 85), Chester, Terry, Hutton, Jedinak, Snodgrass (Grabban 45), Hourihane (Davis 45), Onomah, Bjarnason, Hogan.
Taylor, Whelan, Lansbury, Bunn.
Rudd, Fisher, Davies, Huntington, Cunningham, Pearson, Browne, Bodin (Harrop 90+1), Robinson, Barkhuizen (Simpson 90+8), Moult (Horgan 83).
Woods, Spurr, Maxwell, Earl.
Speaking to the BBC's cameras a short time after match day referee Darren England blew the final whistle, Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce explained.
'We found it difficult. They've only lost one in 17 and you can see why. They have a fantastic work effort with good players and, in this league, they're a threat for anybody. We've given them a goal. They got a break with their first attempt which was a mistake by us. Then Snoddy was sick at half time and we had to change fit. If I'm being brutally honest, when I first saw it, I thought our penalty looked a bit soft, but having seen it again on the video, it was actually a ridiculous challenge. He just jumped into him. The referee and linesman have got it spot on. It might not have been fair but we might even have won it in the end. The best ball of the match and Keinan Davis couldn't quite get on the end of it.'
Preston North End manager Alex Neil in his comparative interview explained.
'We were the better side viewed over the 90 minutes, in every facet of the game. We've come here and dominated. It's just disappointing that it was a really soft penalty that got them back into it. It was the linesman that gave it, not the referee. Whenever you come to a big away ground, you hope that it will be a level playing field and that you get a strong referee and I didn't think that was the right decision. But we created enough chances to have won it. And we only scored one goal and that leaves you susceptible.'