Wednesday 23 January 2019

McGeady: We could have won

Ireland's Aiden McGeady
Ireland's Aiden McGeady

Ireland star Aiden McGeady believes that Preston's young players - including debutant Daryl Horgan - will learn from their narrow FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.

The Gunners needed a late goal from Olivier Giroud to nick a win and avoid an unwanted Cup replay, the fate which has befallen Liverpool, Arsenal winning 2-1 at Deepdale.

McGeady, on loan to Preston from Everton, impressed for the Championship side while ex-Dundalk man Horgan came off the bench for his first appearance. McGeady feels his side can be proud.

"The fans will go home fairly pleased from what they've seen. Games like that don't come around very often against a very good Arsenal team. Live on TV, a full house so it will stand some of the young lads in good stead," he said.

"We're a team full of potential. We're not the finished article but a few of the draws we've had in the last couple of months, if you turn them into wins we're right in the mix of the play-offs and that just shows the fine margins."

"We were the better side first-half and if we'd have taken our chances we could have had them dead and buried by half-time.

"Maybe we invited the pressure which they put us under in the second-half and we didn't attack in the way in which we did in the first-half.

"But Arsenal are a quality side and we can't have any complaints. We were unlucky at the end with the goal but it was a pretty even game," McGeady added.

"You knew there was going to be a reaction after half-time and we had to be focused for the full game against these teams. One small mistake, they can punish you."

Arsene Wenger hailed Giroud's leadership qualities after the win. He said: "He has scored many goals recently. Everybody contributes and he's in good form at the moment. It's been goal after goal.

"I like to rotate the captaincy. He went through a period of discomfort when he didn't play and that was quite long but he kept his focus and worked. He's shown leadership qualities and that's why he was captain."

Wenger admitted he was not happy with the performance of his players in the first half. Preston ran their visitors ragged for 30 minutes and were unlucky not to lead by more than Callum Robinson's early strike.

It was not until the second half Arsenal looked like a Premier League side, equalising with a fine goal from Aaron Ramsey soon after the restart and played with more intent before their extra quality told late on.

Asked if he was angry, Wenger said: "Yes, at half-time. We are at the top level in the Premier League and we were dominated. Preston had chances and we were just not at the pace the game demanded. They played in a very intelligent way. They are a good side."

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