Alex Neil hails ‘complete away performance’ as Preston North End beat Charlton Atheltic to go top of the Championship

Preston North End manager Alex Neil applauds the travelling support after the 1-0 win at Charlton.
Preston North End manager Alex Neil applauds the travelling support after the 1-0 win at Charlton.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil has hailed his side’s 1-0 win at Charlton Athletic as ‘a complete away performance.’

North End took the spoils thanks to a Paul Gallagher penalty in the 58th minute, after Jayden Stockley was hauled down going for a header by Jason Pearce.

And after the game, speaking to Sky Sports, Neil said of how important the opening goal is at Charlton, and that he’d back his side against anyone.

“It was probably a complete away performance,” he said.

“When you come to a place like Charlton, transitions are going to be massive and the first goal is always going to be important.

“I thought we deserved it. I thought we had enough chances in the game, enough control of the game and limited them to very little.

“The one thing we know is that we’re capable of winning four or five in a row, but we’re also capable of losing them.

“Every game we need to be on it.

“The attitude, determination and application from our players is something that we don’t question too much.

“They all go about their work and it’s just if we can play well enough on the day.”

North End once again showed versatility in their play, choosing to go long towards Stockley as they did only for the first time against Blackburn; but to Neil, that is an important characteristic.

The win sent Preston to the top of the Championship on goal difference and the PNE boss sees no reason why his side shouldn’t believe they can stay in the automatic promotion places.

He said: “We’re up there at the moment so why wouldn’t we?

“If you look at Sheffield United last year, I don’t think many people tipped them to go up, even Norwich, they finished 14th the year before.

“So yeah, I don’t see why not.

“I don’t think that necessarily the best squad or the most healthy squad in terms of the finances win you this league.

“It’s the best teams, the teams that work the hardest, the teams that have different ways of playing.

“Today we went very direct to Jayden at times, at home we pop the ball around, we move the ball around well.

“We’ve got a variety of different ways of playing and I think that’s crucial at this level.”

With speculation mounting over the weekend as to whether Alex Neil would take the Stoke City job, he reiterated his position.

Neil also never had any doubts over whether PNE’s backing of him waned in any way.

“I don’t think it was ever in question,” he said.

“I’d never doubt the club.

“I’ve had a lot of support working with Peter and the owner and the structure we’ve got is ideal for me.

“There’s no politics, it’s a straight line, me, Peter and the owner. That’s it.

“I put a statement out last night.

“I am the manager of Preston North End.

“A lot of it, for me, was just speculation anyway so there’s not much really to talk about.

“It doesn’t really mean that much to me.

“My sole focus is just trying to win games.

“You can easily go from a very good position to a very bad position in management.

“It’s important that you keep a level head, cracking on with the job.”