North End skipper John Welsh praised the work rate of his teammates following Preston’s hard fought 0-0 draw with Wolves on Saturday.
The 29-year-old played the full 90 minutes of the opening game of the League One campaign and did not look out of place against the side tipped to win the title this season.
And following the clash, Welsh was full of admiration for the application of his teammates’ efforts
“I thought it was a hard-working performance, we always knew it was going to be difficult against a good team, who are obviously tipped for promotion and rightly so,” he told PNE.Com.
“They’ve got good individual players who were playing in the Premier League not too long ago, so we knew it was going to be tough but I thought the work rate of the boys was unbelievable.
“We still want to bring a bit more quality with the ball, we all know that, but the shape that we got into every time we lost the ball, the work rate we put in was second to none, from minute one to minute 90.”
“We defended really well, I thought, against good players so we’re happy with the draw.”
There were numerous bookings throughout the game which, all said and done, proved a feisty encounter, though Welsh believes that tough-tackling style of play suits PNE down to the ground.
“If you look throughout the team we’ve got lads who want to do well for the team and want to tackle and want to win games and that’s what you’ve got to do at this level,” he said.
“You can’t win games by not winning the ball and keeping it, but that’s the side of the game I enjoy and i don’t want to pick up too many bookings this year but I thrive on that and you’re always going to get it from the lads.
“They’re always going to work hard for each other, tackle and press and do all the stuff that teams might not like but those are the sort of things you’ve got to do if you want to be successful.”
In the 20 degree heat, Simon Grayson’s pre-season training regime clearly paid off for North End as they continued to stand toe to toe with their opponents until the final whistle.
And the PNE captain was pleased with the conditioning of the team, saying: “I thought we got a bit tired towards the end of the game, which is normal, obviously when you play league games they’re completely different to friendlies – the adrenaline is pumping and they’re a good side.
“So, we knew we’d have had to work hard to get something from the game and when you see lads running 40 or 50 yards to intercept the ball or make a tackle, that’s what we’re going to have to do every game.
“We’ve set the benchmark for the work rate and for the shape we want to get into and we want to do that as a minimum in every game.”
With a crowd of over 16,500 at Deepdale, the atmosphere for the match reached fever pitch and Welsh was quick to credit the Preston fans for their support.
“We know how passionate the fans are, we’ve been here long enough to know that they fans want to be successful and they’re willing to get everything behind us to ensure that we are successful,” he said.
“I’m sure If we’re not playing well they’ll let us know, but the fans were brilliant and since I’ve been here they’ve been brilliant every single game, even when things aren’t going well they’re getting right behind us and encouraging us.
“We always know we’re going to get that from the fans and they were a credit to the Club today.”