Preston North End’s winless run in the Championship stretched to seven games as they were comfortably beaten 3-0 by league leaders Leeds United at Elland Road. Alex Neil’s side have now lost five of their opening eight league fixtures, including four out of their last five matches, leaving them second from bottom with just five points.
A 1-0 opening day victory at home to Queens Park Rangers suggested Preston could build on a solid campaign last season, which saw them finish in seventh position just two points outside the play-off places. Neil’s side followed that up with a 1-0 defeat at Swansea City, before holding Stoke City to a 2-2 draw at Deepdale. Four points from their opening three games looked like it would provide a solid foundation for Preston to start their season on.
However, back to back defeats at Norwich City and Derby County, both by a 2-0 score line, as well as throwing away a two-goal lead to draw at home to Bolton Wanderers, has led to a lack of confidence from the Lancashire side. Those results preceded last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at home to fellow early season strugglers Reading, and have left Preston needing to improve their performances, especially in defense, if they are going to climb the table.
Last season Preston conceded just 46 goals in their 46 matches, but so far this campaign they have already conceded 15 goals, an average of just under two goals a game. Leeds, whose only defeat of the season so far came against Preston in the Carabao Cup, exploited Preston’s poor defending and fragile confidence. The Whites dominated the match and cruised to victory, with Liam Cooper heading them in front from a corner before the break, before Tyler Roberts added two goals in the final fifteen minutes.
Speaking to BBC Sport following the defeat at Leeds Neil said, “Their movement is good. We high pressed well in the cup, which is a high-risk strategy, and managed to beat them on the back of it but today we didn’t do enough going forward when we had the ball to damage Leeds. When you do that when you play good teams your going to get hurt at the other end. We do have to get ourselves out of the rut we’re in at the moment”