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First Team News

’The Best PNE Game I’ve Been Involved In’ Says Alex Neil

24 November 2018

Manager Alex Neil shared the supporters delight after today’s 4-1 win over Lancashire rivals Blackburn, but admits there’s little time to celebrate with the next outing coming up on Tuesday.

The manager can look back on several highlights of his 18 month tenure as North End boss, but believed today’s three points is the best during his time at Deepdale so far. 

"In terms of atmosphere and other factors - that’s the best game I’ve been involved in since I’ve been here,” said Alex to iFollowPNE after the game.

“It was a great way to show what we can do and to win the game with a comfortable scoreline, and I think the fans enjoyed that so really pleased. 

“But the game is done for us now - we’ll enjoy tonight but we’ll be in again preparing for Middlesbrough.”

North End hit the ground running as early as the second minute through Tom Barkhuizen before Callum Robinson doubled the advantage eight minutes later, and the manager highlighted the bright start his side made to the game set the tone for making it eight unbeaten. 

“We spoke last year about not starting quickly and brightly, but you look at the Brentford match and this game, that’s twice we’ve started really quickly at home. 

“I thought the goal they scored changed the game. We’ve then got to decide whether to try and win the game or be comfortable with what we’ve got but the lads' reaction was great. They really concentrated on getting the win, and we got the win in the end comfortably off the back of that.”

Goals from Alan Browne and Louis Moult late on made it comfortable viewing for North End supporters in the last few minutes of the game, and the manager felt the introduction of Browne in the starting line up, and Moult on the hour mark was another plus point for the manager.

Alex added: “When you look at the amount of games Alan played last year, it was probably the most he’s played in his career and he’s taking on a big role in our team because I’ve got such belief in him, so sometimes that takes its toll over the course of time, more mental fatigue than physical fatigue because athletically, he’s an absolute specimen.

“They tried to lock onto us and be really aggressive and be on top of us and have a link and Jordan Hugill did so well for us last year and it meant we could drop out and play, but Louis gave us that option to play today and he did excellent when he came on.”

One downside to today’s match came in the 68th minute when Callum Robinson was forced off with an injury, and the manager sympathised with the PNE number 7 who’s been in fine form this campaign. 

“The International break has caused us a real issue” added Alex. “Callum has done so much over the break when the rest of the team are resting and that causes an issue. He’s been a real key player for us so I’m hoping it’s not too serious.”

On Ben Pearson, who also came off with cramp, the manager updated iFollowPNE:

“Ben will be okay but couldn’t train for a week and a half because of an issue with his quad. 

 

“I don’t think Bradley Dack will come up against a better player in the league than Ben Pearson in his position. 

“He stepped up to the plate and was excellent, a real driving force for us and when he did start dominating the ball, it just brought Paul Gallagher into the game who has real quality.”

For more reaction from the manager, head to iFollowPNE now.


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