Preston North End boss Alex Neil happy to come out on top of tactical battle against Brentford at Deepdale.

Preston manager Alex Neil with Brentford head coach Thomas Frank
Preston manager Alex Neil with Brentford head coach Thomas Frank

Preston North End manager Alex Neil gave his players a pat on the back for the way they handled a 'tough' tactical side in Brentford.

The Lilywhites won 2-0 at Deepdale, an early goal from Sean Maguire added to in the second half by Tom Barkhuizen.

Tom Barkhuizen steers home Preston's second goal against Brentford at Deepdale

Tom Barkhuizen steers home Preston's second goal against Brentford at Deepdale

It was a fourth home win out of four in the Championship this season for Neil's men.

Neil said: "It was a tough game as they always are against Brentford.

"Tactically Brentford are probably the hardest team in the league at the moment in terms of their shape and how they play.

"We knew the first 20-30 minutes were really important, we wanted to play on top of them, force ourselves on to them - try and blitz them to get a couple of goals.

"I thought we should have done that, we got one goal and then Billy Bodin got in three times behind them down that side and we should have done better.

"Once the pitch opens up, Brentford start to feed their wing-backs and the two No.10s start to run in behind.

"We knew we would have to let them play like that for us to be a threat going the other way.

"It would have been easy to drop our wide players in but then they would have had three against one and we'd never get the ball back.

"We wanted to play our two wide players high and the wrong side of their wing-backs to carry a threat in a three versus three.

"At times we knew they would play around and through us, so we had talked about being narrow and compact on the edge of the box.

"For all the nice patterns of play Brentford had at times they didn't have chances when you thought they should have scored.

"That is credit to our lads. My only criticism was we didn't move the ball well enough."

Neil was without Ben Pearson, the midfielder missing the game because of a virus which forced him to miss training on Friday.