After the final whistle, Simon Grayson wished Newcastle well and declared that United were ‘very worthy’ of promotion.
However, the Preston boss believes that his side gifted the game to the Magpies.
Grayson says that basic mistakes cost Preston and that was summed up by the ‘free opportunity’ they gave for the opening goal, with poor defending from a corner.
After quickly equalising in the 14th minute, Simon Grayson believes it could/should have been the visitors going in ahead at the break, Rob Elliot saving a one on one being the stand out moment.
As Newcastle laboured to make inroads at 1-1, the Preston Manager says ‘you could sense the anxiety around the ground’.
The key moment then coming when the away side gifted possession and Newcastle scored the best goal of the night on the stroke of half-time, an excellent ball from Mitrovic setting up Atsu to make it 2-1 and relieve the tension.
To round off a bad day of self-inflicted wounds, Simon Grayson felt it was ‘like Groundhog Day’ when Paul Gallagher made arguably the best save of the night, the only problem being that he is an attacking player not a goalkeeper. Another red card to go with the one Preston conceded when leaking six goals in that League Cup match back in October.
Ritchie scored the penalty and from that moment the game was up for Preston and more importantly the Newcastle fans could enjoy the last 25 minutes as the team eased into the Premier League.
“It is a disappointing night, basic mistakes have cost us.
“We started the first five to ten minutes poorly – we expected them to come out because of what was at stake for them but we gave them a free opportunity from a set-piece.
“We get back into the game and kept possession and probably should have scored another.
“We had some good opportunities and limited them to set-pieces but then we gave the ball away sloppily on the stroke of half-time and it gives them a massive impetus for the second half.
“Again, in the second-half we did the basics wrong and if you do that you’re going to be punished by the opposition.
“You could sense the anxiety around the ground; Jordan led the line really well and Tom Barkhuizen was a constant threat down that left hand side. The midfield three was quite dominant and apart from a few set-pieces, they didn’t create too many opportunities.
“It felt like groundhog day when we went down to ten men last time.
“They needed that third goal and when we went down to ten men it was never going to be easy for us. From then on, it was making sure we didn’t shift too many goals.
“Again, all of the goals were preventable from a set-piece. They’ve not had to work hard enough and that’s a trait that we’ve had last month and that’s something we need to sort out.
“We knew it was going to be tough and that the crowd was going to be up for it but we needed to be up for that but we made it too easy for then.
“Huge congratulations to Rafa and his staff for getting promoted, they’re very worthy of that and we wish them well for the future.
“We’ve got to be better, there’s no two ways about it – we need to keep the ball better – we showed them too many opportunities.
“We don’t want to finish the season with a whimper because, for 98% of the season, apart from the last four games it’s been an outstanding effort.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 4 Preston 1
Newcastle: Perez 7, 67 Atsu 45, Ritchie 65
Preston: Hugill 14 (Gallagher red card 64)
Possession was Preston 32% Newcastle 68%
Total shots were Preston 6 Newcastle 22
Shots on target were Preston 2 Newcastle 7
Corners were Preston 1 Newcastle 16
Referee: Anthony Madley
Elliot, Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey (Colback 76), Hayden, Atsu (Gouffran 68), Perez (Murphy 83), Mitrovic
Darlow, Yedlin, Mbemba, Diame
Crowd: 50,212 (Preston 500)
(Read what Alan Shearer had to say after the final whistle HERE)
(To read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to win over Preston and promotion go HERE)
(To view our interactive Newcastle v Preston player ratings and to add your own go HERE)
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