Alex Neil explains system change for Preston North End's defeat to Reading

Alex Neil has explained his thinking behind playing three central defenders in Preston North End’s 3-2 defeat to Reading.

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Tom Clarke played as one of three central defenders for PNE against Reading

Tom Clarke played as one of three central defenders for PNE against Reading

The PNE boss headed into the game without both suspended pair Ben Pearson and Ryan Ledson with Alan Browne also missing out with a calf strain.

Neil went with a 3-4-2-1 shape, using three centre-backs to try and cover the absence of a tackler in midfield.

"We tried that shape because we didn't have a natural No.6 in there, with Ben Pearson, Ryan Ledson and Alan Browne missing," said Neil.

"The guys in the middle of the pitch, Gally, DJ then Josh Harrop and Graham Burke, they are more creative and attacking players.

"So we went three centre-backs to try and stiffen us up a little bit, two full-backs which made it a back five when they tried to attack us down the flanks.

"But if you can't make better decisions defensively, you put a lot of pressure on yourselves to score more goals."