Alex Neil was as proud as he’s ever been as Preston North End manager in his post-match interview with iFollow after today’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.
The manager, hit with an injury list as big as he’s probably faced in his managerial career made two changes with two further injuries in Ben Davies and Alan Browne to contend with, whilst teenagers Connor Simpson, Adam O’Reilly, Ethan Walker and Jack Baxter were all part of the subs bench with just one senior appearance between them.
“I think that’s the proudest I’ve been from a performance since I’ve been here,” stated the manager to iFollowPNE post-match.
“It’s difficult for me to stand here and be anything other than proud of my team and that goes for the lads who started and the kids that came on.
"They bring on experienced players like Bjarnason and Adomah, and we bring on Ethan Walker who’s 16 and Adam O’Reilly. They train everyday, work hard and we wanted them to see that last five minutes out for us and they did, and they’ll be buzzing with that.”
The manager felt his side showed tenacity and hunger in abundance, but also felt there was quality performances from his side, which was much needed from a side on the fringes of the Play-Off places.
“The last thing you want to do for everybody connected to the club is feel a victim, and feel hard done by and that was the basis of my team talk,” continued Alex.
“We’ve dusted ourselves down and got on with it. I thought the lads showed that hunger and determination to make sure it’s not just the lads that are missing that are good players, we have plenty of other good players as well.
“The lads coming in - I was extremely proud of them today. They worked tirelessly and put unbelievable performances in terms of quality. If you look at the game, it’s one each, but I think if you were at the match today, I thought we deserved to win and the lads were excellent and took their chances. We had young players coming in who are going to be a bit naive in certain situations but I thought the effort, endeavour and quality at times was terrific.
“I’ll be going home tonight knowing every single player I fielded tonight gave everything they’ve got and I thought they performed to what they’re capable of doing and if I was a fan today, I’d be proud to be a Preston North End supporter.
“We play in peoples faces and get up against them and see if they want to match our effort and running power. The amount of ground we cover as a team is incredible but I think that’s what makes us who we are.
On the injury to Alan Browne, the manage added: “I dropped Alan out of Sheffield Wednesday a few weeks back because his hamstrings had been fatigued, the problem we’ve had is once Ben was suspended it was needs must and Alan’s been a key player for us, and yesterday he just felt his hamstring tighten up so he wasn’t going to be involved today.”
Watch Alex's full interview on iFollowPNE now.