Preston North End boss Alex Neil cannot wait for new season to start
Preston’s season might have ended only three weeks ago and a holiday in the sun still beckons for Alex Neil but you sense that he is already itching for the next campaign.
Neil sat down with all the PNE players individually two days after the final match at Brentford before sending them away on holiday.
He has kept busy since, keeping tabs on the plans for the summer recruitment and getting pre-season in shape.
The return of the squad for training might be a month away but the time will fly by.
Neil told the Post: “When the season comes to an end, you are thinking, ‘Good, I’m glad I’m going to get a break’.
“But after a few days you miss it, you always do.
“Speak to any manager who is out of work and there is that immediate relief of unburdening yourself of all the pressure and strains.
“After a week or so, they start to miss it and it is the same during the summer.
“We thrive on the thrill and buzz of piecing together a team and getting ready for the matchday when it all rides on that 90 minutes.
“Football management is unlike any other job.
“There is no other job where you work a whole week and your whole week’s work is going to be decided on a 90-minute game.
“In other jobs, you haven’t generally got someone trying to stop what you are doing.
“If you are trying to put a nail in, there isn’t someone trying to take the hammer off you!
“Football is a game at the end of the day and in any game there is an element of fortune which you need to have.
“You miss all that in the summer and so you generally want to get back to it as quickly as possible.”
As Neil plans for next season, he will reflect on the events of the one recently ended.
“This season was a bizarre one,” said Neil.
“We didn’t start well and then we had a real purple patch in the middle.
“That coincided with us getting most of our players back and we performed very well over that period.
“Then we had that week of death when we played three of the top sides and lost them all.
“That week took the wind out of our sails and it became disappointing after that.
“Depending on your view, you will take which section you want to – either you will like the middle of the season and remember that or you will look at the start and the end.
“My job is to take it as a whole and learn from that.”