Stalemate ‘simply not enough' for Watford to achieve aims – Slaven Bilic

Slaven Bilic's side were held by Preston (Simon Galloway/PA)
PA Sport Staff

Watford manager Slaven Bilic admitted his side are falling behind in the play-off race following their 0-0 draw against Preston.

Bilic was frustrated his players failed to create many clear-cut chances apart from a four-minute spell midway through the second half.

Bilic said: “If we were at the start of the season or in a comfortable position in the table, I would be not happy, but I would say this result is okay.

“But considering where we are and what we want for the remainder of the season, it’s simply not enough.”

Keinan Davis was denied by a brave block from Preston keeper Freddie Woodman, while Ismaila Sarr shot narrowly wide.

Bilic said: “One of the chances was clear-cut, while the Sarr shot was unlucky to miss the post. Preston are a good defending side. They know how to frustrate you, how to keep the ball, how to waste time.

“But there is always something missing from us. We spoke about it on the training ground. Either you don’t get the cross in or you do but the cross is bad. Then, when the cross is good, then the touch in the box is bad.

“Then, when the touch is good and you are through one on one and everything is perfect, then you still don’t score.

“If any team deserved to win it was us, but we didn’t really do enough to win the game. We didn’t have the quality to open them up.

“The second half was much better and we had two or three chances. But we have too many draws.

“The boys are trying and fighting but we couldn’t find a way to open them up. We are missing that quality in the box. There is always something missing when we get there. But the clean sheet is a positive.

“I expected much more from us although I have no complaints about the second half.”

Visitors Preston have now recorded nine goalless draws in their 35 Championship matches this season. They did manage five shots in the first half, but all of them were from outside the box.

Manager Ryan Lowe said: “We had to be solid today and I thought our game plan from minute one to 96 minutes was fantastic. We’re a good team on our day. And we can keep the back door shut.

“I think that is sometimes credit to the back lads and the defensive unit, but also the striker and everyone on the pitch for making sure that we keep clean sheets and defend from the front.

“I said to the lads in there to get some shots away, but I’m happy with the overall performance and the chances that we created.

“But it’s got to be a shot that you get on target, not just taking shots for the sake of it. We didn’t penetrate them much, but we didn’t want to be done by a counter-attack.

“You have to pay teams like Watford respect. They have a fantastic squad of players. It’s a collective thing. And the staff and the players are all on the same page.

“We are where we are in the table. I think people got too carried away in the first part of the season about what we could achieve, but we’re not getting carried away. It’s nice to be able to send the fans home happy.”