PNE boss pleased with determination of his men

Preston North End's Tom Barkuizen celebrates scoring against Birmingham City with Sean Maguire
Preston North End's Tom Barkuizen celebrates scoring against Birmingham City with Sean Maguire
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Preston boss Alex Neil has praised the mentality of his squad and their drive to push the club on.

Neil admits he was in the fortunate position of taking over at Deepdale this summer in different circumstances to managers at other clubs.

Many managerial changes take place when results have taken a turn for the worse but Neil got his chance because of Simon Grayson’s departure to take the Sunderland job.

“I’m in the best position I probably could be with the set of boys I have got,” said Neil.

“None of them are looking to be bigger than the club or bigger than me.

“The fact is they want to be here to do well for themselves, do well for the club and do well for me.

“I’m doing everything I can to make them the best they can be.

“It is a two way thing, it’s not about me.

“I’m here to facilitate them and help them.

“If they do as well as they can, they will reap all of the rewards and benefits.”

Neil will be looking to see PNE maintain their good form when they host Millwall at Deepdale today.

His side are five matches unbeaten and have won the last two.

Last week’s victory against Birmingham was their first on the road under Neil and the first since January.

The second-half display which saw them turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead was very impressive to say the least.

Neil wants to see more of that from North End and that has been on the focus on the training pitch this week.

“The nature of football is that you should always want to do better,” said Neil.

“One of the phrases which gets thrown around is that you are only as good as your last game.

“That could not be truer because the fans could talk about your last game as if you are Pele, then the next game if you don’t play so well, you are whoever is not very good!”

How Neil lines-up North End’s forward line today will attract attention.

What helped spark the comeback at Birmingham was a change of position for the three players behind striker Jordan Hugill.

Sean Maguire, Josh Harrop and Tom Barkhuizen swapped roles for the second half.

Neil said: “In the first half at Birmingham I thought Josh was getting beyond the ball too early and too often.

“I didn’t think he played that No.10 role as good as I know he can.

“We put Sean there as he is always on the move, can run between people and could get up to support Jordan.

“Changing that helped us, it gave us a platform to get the ball to the top end of the pitch.

“Josh did well coming off the flank, he did better.”