Forward-thinking boss Alex Neil delighted by Preston North End's display

Alex Neil was pleased with how Preston’s attacking play finally came together in their victory over Huddersfield.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 8:00 am

PNE won 3-0 at Deepdale, ending a run of three games without scoring.

The second and third goals were clinical efforts scored on the counter-attack, North End sweeping up the pitch in some style on both occasions.

Brad Potts had followed in to score the opener in the 23rd minute after a Scott Sinclair shot had been blocked.

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Brad Potts celebrates his goal in the 3-0 win over Huddersfield

He turned provider for Evans to score the second in the 67th minute, with Sinclair finishing off a flowing move and a fine cross from substitute Tom Barkhuizen with 10 minutes to go.

Lilywhites manager Neil said: “In terms of trying to play that final ball recently, we had not executed it with anywhere near the quality we showed this time, if you think of the second and third goals.

“Brad’s cut-back for Ched for the second was excellent and then you had the final ball from Barky to Scott.

“That ball was an absolute peach of a pass I’d say. That is something we need to do better more often to have more points.

“I’m really pleased it all came together in this game.

“The clean sheet was very pleasing too, remember that Huddersfield had scored four against Swansea last week.

“They are a difficult side to play against because they change their shape a lot in games and it is difficult to know who is going where and what they are trying to do.

“That can catch you off guard a little bit but we managed to deal with it. This was a big game for us, a big, big three points.”

Victory nudged North End up one place to 13th and the gap between themselves and third-bottom Rotherham is now 14 points.

Looking the other way, Bournemouth in sixth place have a nine-point advantage over PNE – the Cherries visit Deepdale on Saturday.

Before then there is the trip to The Den to face Millwall tomorrow night.

Neil felt Saturday’s win was a big one psychologically in terms of not having to look over their shoulders.

The mid-table and lower mid-table sides had started to bunch up.

Said Neil: “It was one of those games that if we lost it, we are then looking over our shoulder for the rest of the season.

"But if we win it, we 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 it was a big step mentally for the players.

“They were coming off a good performance in the last game against Queens Park Rangers, so it was great to get the win, score three goals and keep a clean sheet.”

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