Preston North End manager Alex Neil says Leeds United are the wide boys of the Championship

Preston North End boss Alex Neil is an admirer of the width which Tuesday night's opponents Leeds United play with.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 21st October 2019, 1:15 pm
Preston boss Alex Neil and his Leeds counterpart Marcelo Bielsa at Deepdale
Preston boss Alex Neil and his Leeds counterpart Marcelo Bielsa at Deepdale

Neil thinks that sets the Yorkshire side apart from many Championship teams and it will be a challenge he has to meet at Deepdale in the sixth versus second clash.

“Leeds play with as much width as any team I have seen at this level,” said Neil.

“They have a full-back on one touchline and one on the other, then two wide players on each touchline.

North End manager Alex Neil at Reading last Saturday

“That is easy to set up but what’s difficult is having your players that far apart and still retaining the ball with real quality.

“A lot of teams bring their players close together so your passes are only five to six yards or 10-12 yards, rather than having to be 20-40 yards.

“Leeds do both sides of the game well.

“Probably the one facet they would like to better is the conversion of chances.

Marcelo Bielsa and Alex Neil on the touchline at Deepdale last season

“That are number one for shots in the league.

"Leeds have more possession than most teams they play against, they are just a dangerous team.

"They get the ball back, they are hungry, aggressive and just a good side in every aspect apart from conversion of chances."

This will be the fourth time Neil has stood in the technical area with Marcelo Bielsa .

Early last season, North End beat Leeds 2-0 at Elland Road in the Carabao Cup with goals from Daniel Johnson and Brandon Barker.

Leeds then did the legaue double over PNE, winning 3-0 at home and 2-0 at Deepdale.

Neil likes Bielsa's work but will be hoping to out-fox him this time.

"It is not necessarily the depth of research he does on opponents, it is more the understanding his players have of their roles," said Neil.

"They have a lot of players who have played at this level for a long time and they have been decent players.

"But I think a lot of them now are better than decent players."

Leeds moved second in the table after a 1-0 win over Birmingham City on Saturday, a game which marked their centenary.

Kalvin Phillips scored the contest’s only goal in front of a 35,700 crowd.

Of their last seven league games, Leeds have won three, lost three and drawn one.

Patrick Bamford is their leading scorer with four goals, Eddie Nketiah - on loan from Arsenal - and Ezgjan Alioski having both scored twice in Championship games.