PHIL Brown says he still doesn’t regard keeping Preston in the Championship as mission impossible.
North End’s 2-1 derby defeat to Lancashire rivals Burnley at Deepdale pushed them closer to League One, with the gulf between them and 21st place Crystal Palace back to 11 points.
They now have only 13 games to bridge that gap, with a trip to promotion-chasing Norwich City next on the fixture list.
It would take a huge turnaround in results and fortune for PNE to stay up, many fans are now resigned to the prospect of the club’s first relegation since 1993.
But Brown isn’t giving up the fight, neither it seems are some of his coaching staff who were involved in a heated incident in the tunnel at the final whistle on Saturday.
The North End manager said: “I haven’t got an impossible task here because at the end of the day, there are 13 games left and 39 points to play for.
“It’s all about arresting the losing mentality. I thought we had done that over the last three games.
“We are showing enough in terms of commitment, but against Burnley we forgot to play.
“Once you’ve committed yourself to winning the ball and done that, then you have to start using it properly.
“A lot of people told me when I arrived that Preston were a decent side with the ball – that was true – but they allowed the opposition to play.
“Against Burnley I thought we stopped them playing, but some of our basic defending let us down.
“Tony Adams, a great defender, used to say that the best defenders would smell danger. Some of our players don’t see danger, let alone smell it.”
North End went ahead in the derby clash through Barry Nicholson’s 23rd minute strike.
Jay Rodriguez equalised 11 minutes later, before Jack Cork headed the Clarets’ winner in the 84th minute.
Said Brown: “We showed enough commitment and fight to get something from the game, maybe in the pursuit of trying to win it we have lost it.
“I’ll take responsibility for that, we more or less went 4-2-4 towards the end and consequently that has unhinged us.
“We forgot to play when we had the ball. There were little glimpses of what we can do, the one piece of quality we showed in the first half got us in front. That was a nice bit of hold-up play in the build-up to the goal which I have been asking the strikers to do.
“Saturday’s game was one which could have gone either way, unfortunately it went Burnley’s way.
“I had a lot of disappointed lads in the dressing room to pick up over the weekend, and now we must get ourselves up for a big game down at Norwich.”