Preston boss Alex Neil hopes to cap fine start at Middlesbrough
Alex Neil admits things could not have much smoother as Preston look to cap a promising first month of the season with a positive result at Middlesbrough today.
The Lilywhites have picked up seven points from their opening four games in the Championship under their new manager, ahead of the trip to the Riverside Stadium.
Neil is full of praise for his players who have bought into his way of thinking and adapted to a new style of play quickly.
“It has been quite a smooth transition,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot of young players who aren’t set in their ways. It’s quite easy to mould and feed information into them and they’ve attacked it great.
“Their mind-set and how they go about their business is a joy. They’ve been really receptive to information and they work extremely hard every day.
“It’s been really refreshing for me, I’ve really enjoyed it so far and I hope the lads are enjoying their football because they’re playing some great stuff.”
That has resulted in North End getting almost full value for some good performances.
The only disappointment has been the 1-0 defeat at Derby, while Ben Pearson’s red card changed PNE’s approach drastically in the final half-hour of the 0-0 draw at Leeds.
“I’ve been really pleased,” Neil said.
“Our performances, as well as the results, have been really encouraging.
“Sometimes you can win games without playing great but I think what we’ve managed to do is coincide good performances with results, which is a good sign.”
Still, though, having played some of the division’s big hitters, North End seemingly continue to go under the radar. But the Preston boss insists that while outsiders may not be paying much attention, there is plenty of expectation from within.
“You give yourself your own pressure,” said Neil.
“We’ve got an expectation of what we can achieve and what we expect from ourselves in every match we play in.
“We’ve lived up to that billing so far and we don’t want those standards to drop.
“If you haven’t got numerous papers, websites and forums declaring if you’ve lost a game it’s a crisis, then I think that can be a good thing.
“It allows us to get our heads down go about our business and concentrate on playing well and winning games.