Alex Neil was pleased to see his Preston North End side provide the good performance he said they needed to defeat Huddersfield Town 3-0 at Deepdale.
North End scored midway through both halves, with Brad Potts breaking the deadlock and turning provider for Ched Evans after the break, before Scott Sinclair rounded off the win ten minutes from time.
The gaffer felt that his team didn’t start as well as he would have liked, but said his players’ response after the second half restart merited the emphatic win they ultimately gained.
“I think we needed that,” Alex told iFollow PNE. “It was going to be an important game today, I felt we played well the last match, we were clinical when we had our chances.
“I don’t think we started well first half, we planned for them in a different way; the way they started was certainly different from what I expected, and it probably took us a little bit of time to address that.
“We got the goal, which was pleasing, arguably against the run of play a little bit. Dan made a couple of really good saves for us when needed him and then once we settled down at half-time and had a good chat about how we need to approach the second half and credit to the lads, I thought they did that extremely well second half.
“We needed a good performance for the team. We’ve got a lot of new faces, you could rattle through them again, we’ve got so many new guys in there.
“To come together as quickly as we’ve needed to, to get results, I think speaks volumes of the lads, in terms of how they’ve approached it. I thought their discipline today, their understanding – particularly after half-time when we had a good chat – I thought they did great.”
The manager was asked about both Brad Potts and Ched Evans, both of whom were on the scoresheet, and he said the two complement one another.
“Pottsy has wanted to play in the No.10 for a while, it’s a difficult position in our team to get into,” he added. “Certainly today, with getting assists and getting goals, that certainly strengthens his cause.
“I thought he [Evans] was a beast, particularly second half. Everything that went up to him stuck. His pass for the goal as well, I think he’s involved in all three goals if memory serves me right. It was a eally, really strong performance.
“We needed somebody like him, we’ve lost a lot of experienced personalities since I’ve been here, Tom Clarke, John Welsh and even Greg, although he’s back. We needed to add a bit of personality and I certainly think he’s done that.
“I try to play to his [Evans’] strengths. If you do that for him, he’ll show you how good a player he can be at doing that side of the game.
“We’ve put it up to him, tried to get it with a bit of quality to give him a chance, and I think the likes of Brad, who’s a running ten, complement him.”
There were also words of praise from the gaffer for Tom Barkhuizen and Scott Sinclair, who combined for the third and final goal.
“Absolute quality from Tom in terms of that outside pass. We’ve had a lot of simpler opportunities recently to execute that final ball, that final through ball, that final pass or that final shot. We’ve not been clinical, we’ve not had that quality. To be fair to Tom, he produced it today. Scott does what does, which is he’s always on point to get his goal – you give him a chance, he’ll score and that’s what he does.”
But Alex said he could have spoken further about the role of any member of his side in the win.
“It’s a big, big win, big performances all over the pitch, particularly second half, and I think you could literally go through a case for every player in the team about how well they’ve done and what we’ve had to come through in terms of getting them organised.
“They haven’t played together that often, it’s not easy to do, so they deserve a huge amount of credit for that.”
Watch more from Alex on iFollow PNE.