Preston North End boss Ryan Lowe conceded that his side were nowhere near the level of Middlesbrough as he sounded his appreciation for Michael Carrick's side after a 4-0 defeat at the Riverside.

The Lilywhites visited Teesside on the back of a seven-game winning run and travelled in numbers with excellent away support who celebrated the club's annual Gentry Day. But they were no match for Boro, with Cameron Archer (2), Chuba Akpom and Marcus Forss scoring.

It was a thrilling attacking performance from the home side, who kept the pressure on second-placed Sheffield United with the victory. And after, Lowe could do nothing but show his appreciation for the side that blew his own away.

READ MORE: Michael Carrick's delight with 'all-round' Middlesbrough performance in Preston North End win

"They are a very good team," said Lowe. "Everything they do - the movement, interchanges, passing, pass appreciation, shots, goals, the energy. They have got the lot, so fair play to Michael and his team and players.

“Middlesbrough were around the bottom of the division earlier in the season, now they are pushing. That’s what can be done. They have good footballers but so do we.

"Middlesbrough Football Club is now on the up, for where they want to get to. I thought they were fantastic today, against a team that was probably a bit under par. We were not quite at it, but the fact is they are a good team."

Lowe has great insight into just how much Boro have improved under Carrick. His North End side beat Boro 2-1 at Deepdale back in October in what was Carrick's first game in charge. Five months later and the difference between the two sides was clear to see, as Lowe admitted it showed how far they are from reaching the play-offs.

He continued: "It was a tough afternoon. Gutted really, with the day all-round and it being Gentry Day. The fans were brilliant, singing in their numbers. They were fantastic. We knew it was going to be tough, but it was a little bit tougher than I expected.

"What I will say, is that we have been on a fantastic seven-game unbeaten run - some good wins, draws and fighting back. I thought, today, we didn't make enough tackles - they are a good team, we know that. They are riding the crest of a wave, but the goals we conceded were not what I expect us to concede.

"I'm disappointed with them. I can't be too down, because the lads have been on a fantastic run. But, I think that just shows why we are not play-off contenders because you have to come here and perform to the levels, to be contenders. And we were nowhere near the level today.

"But, as I say, the lads have been fantastic. We can dust ourselves down very quickly. It's a little bit of a break now for us, and then we go into a derby in two weeks' time, looking to put it right."

Not one to make excuses, he was asked about Bambo Diaby's late red card too, but simply said: "It's about the football today. We weren't at the level we have been at and we couldn't keep a good team at bay. If we want to compete and get to the top end of the division and the top six, then we need to be better than we were today."


2023-03-19T08:10:35Z dg43tfdfdgfd