Manager Alex Neil was pleased by the hard-fought nature of his Preston North End side’s away win against Nottingham Forest.
Louis Moult scored the only goal of the game for the Lilywhites, who defended confidently to hold on for the 1-0 victory, restricting their opponents to few opportunities.
And with North End having been free-scoring in a recent nine-game unbeaten run, the gaffer was satisfied to see his team to dig in to seal the three points.
“We knew coming here having a few players missing as well that it was going to be a tough match,” Alex told iFollow PNE post-match at the City Ground. “They’re a good side, they spent a lot of money in the summer and will be expecting to be in and around the top end of league.
“They’ve been in good form as well, causing teams a lot of problems and scoring a lot of goals. So, to keep a clean sheet, win the game and, to be honest, look relatively comfortable within the match – I don’t think there were too many opportunities where they should’ve scored – the lads stuck to the game plan really well.
“First half, we probably could’ve used the ball a bit better. We had good counter attacking opportunities where our use of the ball was a bit sloppy and second half, we made better use of it and obviously get our goal. But sometimes, you have to really dig in and defend and do the scrappy bits of the game that get you points and I think we did that today.”
Alex was able to recall Tom Clarke, Ben Davies and Daniel Johnson from their respective injuries at Forest and the gaffer said the experience their collective returns provided was vital; particularly in midfield.
“We’ve signed a lot of younger players in the summer but sometimes, you just need that little bit of experience. If you look at the players that have come back into the team, Tom Clarke, DJ [Daniel Johnson], even Ben Davies, who is young but still has a lot of experience – they added a lot to us today.
“The composure of Gally and DJ second half [was important] and there was a lot of good performances right across the pitch. In the middle of the pitch, we’ve real good competition and Ben [Pearson] is hopefully going to be back for next week.”
The gaffer also praised the attitude of striker Louis Moult, who got the all-important winning goal.
“We know we can get goals from Louis, certainly in and about the box, he’s dangerous. I think he’s had to adapt his game to play for us and we’ve adapted slightly to make sure that we get best out of Louis and I still think there’s more to come from him.
“I’ve said to him before the last couple of games that he needs to be more selfish for himself, he’s very much a team player who wants to do everything for the team. But what that means is sometimes is he maybe looks like he’s not going to get as many goals as I think he can.
“That’s something we maybe need to pay a bit more attention to but to that goal, the winner, and to put the shift that he put it in, is really pleasing for him.”