Alex Neil on a 'massive win' for Preston North End against Huddersfield Town at Deepdale
Preston North End manager Alex Neil admitted the victory over Huddersfield Town at Deepdale was a 'massive one' in terms of the bigger picture for the rest of the season.
The Lilywhites won 3-0, completing their first league double of the season, Brad Potts, Ched Evans and Scott Sinclair scoring the goals.
Neil said: "This was a massive game for us today because I honestly felt that it was one of those games if we lost it, you are looking over your shoulder for the rest of the season.
"If you win it, you take a big step towards being secure shall we say and trying to enjoy the remaining games.
"There is still a lot of work to be done but I thought today was a big step in that regard - mentally for the players as well, coming off the back of a good performance in the last game, then to win today, score three goals, keep a clean sheet - we needed that for the group."
It took North End a while to get into the game before Potts scored against the run of play in the 23rd minute.
Evans doubled the lead in the 67th minute, with Sinclair netting 10 minutes from time.
Neil said: "I had prepped the lads for a different kind of shape from Huddersfield than they actually played, so it took us a little bit of time to get into the game.
"I didn't think we started particularly well, in the first half we didn't really trigger the press off well enough and gave them too much time on the ball.
"We got ourselves ahead which is generally unlike us when we don't play as well as normal.
"Half-time allowed me to fix a couple of little bits and to be fair to the lads in the second half I thought it was a really strong performance.
"It was nice to get another couple of goals which was pleasing.
"We stuck our chances away well today. and that is the difference in the games.
"Over the full piece of the game the other night against QPR, I'd say we played better than we did today.
"The difference today was that we were clinical."
Neil was pleased to see Potts on the scoresheet, the midfielder also hitting the bar and setting up Evans' goal.
He started Potts in the advanced midfield role for the second game on the spin, that paying dividends.
"I think Brad sometimes gets a lot of unfair criticism," said Neil.
"Brad wants to play as the No.10 and over my time here, Alan Browne won player of the year playing No.10, Daniel Johnson won it playing No.10.
"So it is not an easy position to get into and our No.10s in my time here have generally hit double figures in terms of goals.
"That is something Brad needs to add more of.
"The introduction of Ched has helped Brad because Brad is a midfield running 10 and not a technical one to play in between the lines and in pockets.
"In the second half when Ched became really effective, Brad was effective because his running power is excellent, that is what his biggest strength is."
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here