Preston North End boss labels their defending ‘criminal’ in 4-2 defeat to Millwall

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe labelled his side’s defending as “criminal” as they lost 4-2 at home to Millwall today.

North End came into the contest with the best defensive record in the Championship – 11 clean sheets and just 16 goals conceded in 20 matches.

But Zian Flemming helped himself to a hat-trick with Charlie Cresswell also heading home to seal the three points and send the Lions up to sixth in the standings.

“I haven’t dissected it all just yet,” said Lowe. “Obviously I’m disappointed and frustrated. We knew what was coming today – they are a handful in everything they do. The goals are criminal, really, because that’s not us, is it?

“To get back into it at 2-2, I said to the group in the second half: ‘Go out and don’t do anything silly – just do the basics right and find a way’. We started brightly and had a couple of chances, I was just waiting for that [third] goal to come. We got done by a ball in behind and the lad is standing in there on his own when the ball is cut back.

“Then we switch off for a corner for the fourth and allow them to play short, then we lose our man at the back post. I’m disappointed in the goals we conceded but we played some good stuff and had some great chances. Ultimately you’ve got to put the ball in the back of the net though.

“I said to the lads not to complicate things and I felt we complicated one or two things today in our patterns of play, rather than do the basics right. Take nothing away from Millwall, they came here and their game plan was spot on. They got about us, went long at times, played at times and stepped in at times. They are very aggressive and have a goalscorer in Zian Flemming they paid £1.7million for and he scores three goals. Sometimes they are the fine margins.”

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