Simon Grayson praised Wigan Athletic for ‘working very hard’ - but insisted his Preston side were always ‘the most likely’ winners of Saturday’s stalemate at the DW.
North End were made to pay for Jordan Hugill’s missed penalty on nine minutes - Matt Gilks making a fine double save - with neither side able to offer much else in the way of an attacking threat.
“It’s a little bit of an opportunity missed, as we were probably the team that looked most likely to score in the game,” said the Preston boss.
“We need to give Wigan a lot of credit as they worked very hard.
“They pressed and worked us, and we didn’t have that quality in the final third that we’ve had in the last few games.
“That comes with the pitch being difficult, three games in a week, and we chopped and changed it to get something out of the game.
“They made it difficult to play against, but that shows how far we’ve come as a club as we made attacking changes and they made defensive ones.”
“There was a lot of endeavour from both teams, which made it difficult for both teams, and then when it mattered in the final, there wasn’t a great deal of quality.
“I don’t think either keeper made too many saves, which is disappointing from our respect.
“But it shows how far we’ve come when we’ve not picked up three points and we’re disappointed.”
Grayson also absolved Hugill of much blame after fluffing his lines from the penalty spot.
“The missed penalty didn’t help us, obviously,” Grayson added.
“We’ve hardly had a penalty this year, but Jordan has always been on them.
“He’s been practising in training this week and he was confident in what he was going to do.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t strike it as well as he wanted to do, and Gilksy made a good save.
“Taking the lead would have made the game a bit more open, but these things happen.
“Hopefully the next time we get a penalty, someone will take it and put it away.”