Neil pleased with PNE display

Alex Neil thought his Preston North End were well deserving of their draw with Premier League outfit Newcastle United.

Saturday, 22nd July 2017, 8:16 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:04 pm
Tom Barkhuizen scores PNE's equaliser against Newcastle. Pic: Kevin McGuiness

The 1-1 draw with the Magpies was Neil's first in charge at Deepdale and it was a good work-out against Rafa Benitez's men.

Aleksandar Mitrovic put Newcastle ahead in the ninth minute before Tom Barkhuizen volleyed a 33rd minute equaliser.

Neil said: "I thought it was a great performance.

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"The only thing that disappointed me was that in the first 15 minutes we looked like we lacked a bit of belief in what we were doing.

"Maybe that was because of the calibre of the opposition.

"Once we settled down and made a few passes, we were fine - it was good to see them react to conceding a goal.

"I thought all in all, it was a great test for us and we really held our own."

Jordan Hugill shields the ball against Newcastle at Deepdale. Pic: Kevin McGuiness

This was a major increase in the quality of opponents after their previous four friendlies had been against League Two and non-league clubs.

It will be the same again on Tuesday night when North End host Lancashire rivals Burnley.

Neil said: "It was a big step-up in opposition for us but it finished one each and to be honest, I don't think anyone would have grumbled had we gone on and won the game.

"The game was quite evenly matched and we were really pleased with how our lads played.

Jordan Hugill shields the ball against Newcastle at Deepdale. Pic: Kevin McGuiness

"The good thing is that they seem to be getting hold of how we want to play, some of our football was excellent.

"We opened a really good team up and created chances.

"I've no complaints whatsoever, the boys tried really hard and some of them played really well."