Alex Neil highlighted the importance of his Preston North End side not only overcoming Wigan Athletic in their first home match of the 2019/20 Championship campaign, but doing so in truly emphatic fashion.
North End were 3-0 winners over Paul Cook’s side, with first half headers from Sean Maguire and Louis Moult putting the home side in control before Paul Gallagher curled a delicious free-kick beyond David Marshall early in the second half to seal all three points.
Alex pointed to last weekend’s defeat to Millwall along with the closure of the summer transfer market in midweek as factors in increasing the stakes to win the game against the Latics.
“There’s been a lot of negativity swelling about with the transfer window closing and obviously losing the game last week,” the gaffer told iFollow PNE post-match.
“I think it was very important for everybody connected with the club that we won the game today, but not only won the game, but did it by scoring a few goals at home and putting a good performance in and I thought we did that. All in all, I thought it was a very good day for us.
“I thought we were very creative today, we created good chances. Paul Gallagher’s quality throughout the game was sensational. We’ve got good players and the lads have played well today and what we should do is just enjoy it, be thankful that the lads performed well and hope that they can try and do it in the next game.”
Having made four changes to the side which faced Millwall on the opening weekend of the season, Alex explained that he was looking for more creativity from the side which lined up against Wigan, with Darnell Fisher, Daniel Johnson, Billy Bodin and Louis Moult returning to the starting line-up.
“At times we get into great areas and maybe that little bit of creativity, that bit of craft, bit of guile has been lacking at times, particularly at home.
“What I tried to do today was put a lot of technical guys in the team and basically try to keep and retain the ball more so than we maybe do at times and I thought it worked very well. It will work from time to time and it wont work at other times, but I thought the lads performed very well today and deserve all the credit that comes in their way.
“There’s lads on the bench that have been fantastic for me since I came here and they’ve been fantastic going forward as well. I just felt today that we needed to take a different sort of strategy into the game.
“It will be horses for courses across the season, I think that’s important when you’ve got a big squad and we’ve got some really talented lads on the bench today and, to be honest, some that didn’t even make the bench today.
“It’s always difficult picking a team but I don’t want to shy away from that we had decisions and leaving maybe key players out and I think it’s necessary, which will continue to be the case.”
Watch the gaffer’s post-match thoughts in full on iFollow PNE.