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First Team News

Alex Neil: ‘Team Performing Very Well Individually And Collectively’

16 December 2017

North End boss Alex Neil felt his side got what they deserved out of their latest home game, as they made it four wins out of five against Sheffield United at Deepdale.

Jordan Hugill’s goal just before the hour made it back-to-back 1-0 home wins as they moved up a place in the Championship and within two points of the Play-Offs positions, after blunting the Blades in PR1.

Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, the gaffer was delighted with what he had seen.

“I thought we deserved to win,” he said. “I thought we created the best and most chances in the game.

“I thought it was hard-fought match though.

“I thought for the first 45 minutes there was very little between the two teams. I didn’t think we showed enough bravery in the first half in our use of the ball, but I thought that improved in the second half and I thought there were some individuals we needed a bit more from in the second half and thankfully for them, they gave us that and we went on and won the game on the back of that.

“We are at home and we want to go and force the issue and try and win the game.

“Sheffield United’s system and how hard they work as a team makes it very difficult to play with any sort of fluency, because they are very in your face and they make it difficult, but I thought our quality players in the second half controlled it very well, created opportunities and the lads at the top end of the pitch looked a lot more aggressive with their first movements and that lent itself to the service they received.

“The service was a lot better and that allowed them to take the ball under a lot less pressure and they were then able to make the best use of it.”

Callum Robinson created another goal and the manager was pleased with his latest contribution, but also with the backline, with made it seven clean sheets from the 11 home games so far this season.

“Callum has been in great form recently,” he continued. “The team selection was a difficult decision today. It probably helped that Josh Harrop hadn’t trained this week – he only joined in later in the week – but he had been in the forefront of my mind.

“Callum got the nod and that was another he has created today and Jordan added another to his tally, which is great.

“I though the back line were terrific.

“I thought Ben Davies was the stand out performer for me in the game.

“I thought he was magnificent, but allied with that, we had a lot of other good performances as well.

“The good thing we have got is a good mixture of experience with quality, youth with legs and we are getting the best out of the lads we have got, they are performing very well collectively and individually, so we can’t be any more pleased than I am right now.

“I have a good idea of what my best team is. It is not always going to be the same XI with each challenge that comes our way, but for each challenge we come across I know the team I would pick and how we would counteract and make sure there is a threat and how to go on and dominate a game and try and win.

“We have a great squad; the boys work extremely hard for each other and when they are in the form they are right now and work really hard, it is great,” added the Lilywhites boss.

You can watch the full video as the manager spoke to iFollow after the game at the top of the page.

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