Opening-day Preston victory over QPR delights manager Alex Neil

Preston North End boss Alex Neil was pleased to have got the new season off to a winning start against Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale.

Saturday, 4th August 2018, 6:26 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th August 2018, 7:38 pm
Alan Browne is congratulated after scoring PNE's winner against QPR

Alan Browne's 50th minute goal was enough to deliver the three points and if terms of chances created, the margin of victory should have been greater.

Neil said: "I think we could have done it more comfortably because for 70-75 minutes I thought we were excellent, we were the dominant team.

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Alan Browne is congratulated after scoring PNE's winner against QPR

"We moved the ball well, created good chances and at half-time we talked about being clinical in the final third because we had been getting into some great areas.

"For all our play in the first half we should have scored more goals.

"Then after all our good play, a scruffy goal won us the game which I think sums the Championship up.

"You can play as well as you like but you need the ball in the back of the net.

North End manager Alex Neil

"I was a bit apprehensive towards towards the end when we'd only scored one goal and that all our good work was going to be undone."

Neil reported that work was on ongoing to strengthen the squad following the injuries suffered by Billy Bodin and Sean Maguire.

The transfer window shuts on Thursday afternoon, with the loan window staying open for EFL clubs until August 31.

"I hope we are busy in terms of bringing bodies here in general, whether that will be before Thursday I'm not quite sure," said Neil.

Tom Barkhuizen shields the ball

"We know we need to strengthen the top end of the pitch, we have lost two really important players for us so we need to give the lads who are up there a bit of a hand.

"It would be tough for them to see it through to January or whatever, so we know we need to have a fuller squad at the top end.

"Due to the fact we have picked up those two injuries, attention certainly turns to that area of the pitch.

"Although we might have been looking to strengthen other areas before, I think the top end becomes priority."

North End lost Tom Clarke to a head injury in the closing minutes against QPR, the skipper coming off after all three substitutes had been used.

Neil said it was too early to tell if Clarke had suffered concussion but no risks could be taken in those circumstances.