Double player of the year Daniel Johnson pays tribute to Preston North End team-mates
Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson has looked back on the season as being something of a mixed bag.
Johnson carried off two player of the year awards and finished as PNE’s top scorer with 12 goals.
In Wednesday’s final game at Bristol City, he set up Sean Maguire’s goal with a cheeky back-heel– his seventh assist of the campaign.
However, Johnson was hoping to land a play-off place and that dream faded after North End found it difficult to find form after the restart.
They finished ninth, four points shy of Swansea City who grabbed sixth place in dramatic fashion.
Johnson won the player of the year award from both fans and his team-mates.
“Without those lads out there with me, I wouldn’t have got the awards,” said Johnson. “Even though the talk is of how well I have done, you’ve always got to go back to how well we have done as a group.
“It has been very decent at a personal level – I’ve my own goals and target which I set for myself.
“We were disappointed not to make the play-offs, there is no hiding place from that and it’s there for people to see.
“What we have to do now is have a rest, dust ourselves down and get ready to go again.
“It’s been a long season with the pandemic break in the middle which didn’t help.
“We’ll be back in quite soon getting ready for next season.”
Johnson, 27, did not think PNE were a million miles away from the play-offs.
The difference between a top-six place and not, in his opinion, was down to missed chances.
Said Johnson: “We weren’t far off to be honest, we stayed around it for much of the time.
“The main thing we can look to improve on is being a bit more ruthless. Anyone who watches our games will know that we always create chances.
“Sometimes it can be eight or so chances a game and two or three clear-cut ones.
“I think if we were a lot more ruthless we would have got over the line in the majority of games.
“That’s something we need to put our focus on, everywhere else on the pitch we are well equipped and well balanced.”
Johnson was pleased with his assist in the 1-1 draw at Bristol City – more so he was delighted for Maguire who put the ball away.
“It was instinct, I saw Sean out of the corner of my eye and had nothing to lose,” he said.
“Had they nicked the ball they would still have had 80 yards to run so it was worth taking a risk.
“It was a brilliant finish from Sean, I’m really pleased for him because that had been coming. He’s been unlucky with a few chances this season so he deserved that one.”