Preston North End boss Alex Neil praises performance against Leeds United

Alex Neil has said that he can't ask any more of his players after their performance at Leeds United.
Alex Neil on the touchline as his PNE side drew 1-1 with Leeds United.Alex Neil on the touchline as his PNE side drew 1-1 with Leeds United.
Alex Neil on the touchline as his PNE side drew 1-1 with Leeds United.

PNE took the lead after 22 minutes through Alan Browne, the Irishman finishing off an excellent PNE breakawy that started with a slide tackle from Sean Maguire on the edge of his own box.

Barkhuizen then linked up with Pearson who played the former through towards goal one on one with the last defender, his first time ball was weighted perfectly and taken in the stride of Alan Browne who calmly slotted home across Kiko Casilla.

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Leeds equalised very late on in the game, the home side notching in the 89th minute from Stuart Dallas, whose deflected shot found the top corner.

Ben Pearson challenges with Leeds skipper Liam Cooper.Ben Pearson challenges with Leeds skipper Liam Cooper.
Ben Pearson challenges with Leeds skipper Liam Cooper.

That result left North End sixth in the Championship table, level on points with Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday above them, a point behind Brentford in third.

After the game, the PNE boss was full of praise for his side and thinks there is little else they could have done.

"We can’t ask any more of the players, I thought we performed really well and were unfortunate that we didn’t win," he said.

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“Then they had a little spell before half time, we started the second half extremely well and then they had as spell at the end with pressure.

“But I thought we were great.

"We had a couple of breakaway chances, second half we could have maybe a couple of better decisions to make chances.

"Seani had a great chance right at the start of the second half.

"That's four games now, that we’ve not lost.

"Two wins, two draws and we’ve been to two difficult venues as well.

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"We should have beaten Cardiff and were unfortunate tonight.

"I don’t really think we can do much more.

"We have two home games coming up, our home forms been excellent so we’re looking forward to that.

The tactics employed by Neil were similar to those at Deepdale, using two 'running 10s' as he generally describes it, the energy of Brad Potts and Alan Browne preferred over the more cultured approach Paul Gallagher takes.

The previous 1-1 draw with Leeds at Deepdale back in October had no bearing on Neil's selection, but it wasn't something the came as a shock to the 38-year-old.

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"Not at all, it’s not really a surprise to me that when I studied the opposition a second time, a lot of the things are the same," he explained.

"The personnel suited the game, we needed that platform to take the ball in but we needed legs to get beyond.

"Equally we needed to be diligent tactically on knowing when to pounce and when not to.

"The personnel carried it out great.

"Patrick Bauer came down with an illness yesterday and continued to get worse over the 24 hours so he didn’t make it.

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"I’m hopeful for Sunday but it’s too early to say at this point.

"The game really suited Ben Davies, their running 10s want to get in behind, Patrick (Bamford) wants to spin into that channel.

"Ben naturally covers that, it’s his bread and butter really."