Russell Martin | We were outfought and that hurts
Russell Martin admitted his Swansea City side had been outfought as they ended a gruelling few weeks with a 3-1 defeat at Preston North End.
The Swans had taken the lead at Deepdale, with Joel Piroe finishing a slick move for his fourth goal in five appearances since his summer move from PSV Eindhoven.
However, the visitors were almost immediately pegged back by Sepp van den Berg, before Emil Riis put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Ben Whiteman’s free-kick early in the second half gave Preston a two-goal cushion that they never looked like relinquishing.
And, while the head coach acknowledged that this has been a tough period with seven games in 21 days following a disrupted pre-season and complications around injuries and cases of Covid-19 among the squad, he was not prepared to accept aspects of the performance.
“It was a disappointing afternoon, I just think we were outfought physically, we were not aggressive enough and did not show enough intensity,” he said.
“I get it, but I cannot accept getting beat like that. They fought harder, they were really physical and aggressive and we could not handle it.
“Too many guys are at the end of a really hectic four-week period where they have been trying to get fit while playing matches because of a lack of pre-season games, or injuries or Covid.
“We had too many guys for whom this was a game too far. You can maybe get away with carrying one or two, but when you are carrying four, five or six it becomes really difficult.
“Saying that, we started okay, we were getting better and better, finding some rhythm and we scored a brilliant goal of real high quality.
“But then when you go and concede a goal straight after you are going to be in for a difficult afternoon.
“I know the guys are tired, but we have to do better, it has really hurt me the way we lost goals like that. It’s not good enough and the fans who were here today deserved better.
“We made it hard for ourselves today, which is really disappointing. But we are now at the end of a really hectic schedule and now we actually have some time to work and we will be stronger for it."