No pity for PNE boss Alex Neil

Alex Neil is not expecting any pity as he looks to get Preston’s season back on track.

By Tom Sandells
Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 12:30 pm

The North End boss has come under fire from fans of late, as results and performances have not been the best.

There have been good results in the mix – a 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town a recent highlight – but Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Wycombe Wanderers led to calls from fans to see the Scot leave.

The 39-year-old is approaching four years in charge of North End and this is the first season since he took the reins where the Lilywhites have never really looked like challenging for the play-off places.

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PNE boss Alex Neil.

In the past three seasons, Preston have recorded seventh, 14th and ninth-placed finishes, sitting in the play-off places for much of last season prior to Project Restart.

Neil insist he will keep going as he looks to get his side back to the way people have been used to during his tenure.

He said: “What I want to stress is that I’m not looking to sit here and have people feel sorry for me. I’ve had a few axes thrown at me in my time and I can take it on the chin, so don’t worry about me one single bit.

“What I’m saying is I’m fighting to do every single thing that I can – I’ll die before I stop.

“That’s not going to happen, I’m going to keep going and keep working.

“Whatever people’s thoughts and opinions of me are, if we’re doing well it’ll fluctuate to we’ve done well, this and that.

“When it’s not going well it’ll be the opposite.

“And that is what it is, I’m not asking for that to change. It’s fine.

“I’m just trying to give an insight into how difficult it can be and I’m doing my best to fix it.

“Given time and given resources I think we can fix it.”

In a season beset by injuries, it has given Neil a chance to reflect on his approach at times.

The PNE boss has had to change things up throughout the season due to necessity, losing key players to injury and to transfers elsewhere.

Declan Rudd, Patrick Bauer were ruled out for the season just after the turn of the year, with Ryan Ledson and Sean Maguire also having lengthy lay-offs.

It is quite simple for him – it is all about winning and if you are not winning, no matter how you’re approaching things, you will come in for criticism.

He said: “I used to get criticised for not changing my team and playing the same players irrespective of how we were doing.

“As far as I’m led to believe, now I’m being criticised for changing things too much.

“The problem I have is that I don’t have the same players fit from day to day, never mind week to week.

“When you do ‘horses for courses’ and win, then excellent we’re prepping for each game as it comes and we’ve got a different plan for each game.

“The minute that you don’t win, we’re tinkering with everything all the time.

“What was a positive then becomes a negative and the one thing that is consistent is what the result is. That’s it in a nutshell.”

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