What boss Alex Neil wants to see from Preston North End next season
Alex Neil says consistency at both an individual level and from the team is something Preston have to improve on next season.
The Lilywhites’ results were up and down to say the least this season, leading to a below par 14th-place finish.
PNE manager Neil felt that inconsistency was reflected in the form of individual players, although there were some who stood out more than others, even they did not show their best form from start to finish.
That will need to change in the 2019/20 campaign in order for North End to compete in the upper reaches of the table.
Neil told the Post: “I think you could say most players here progressed.
“In line with our form over the course of the season, they showed their capabilities and their vulnerabilities too. I don’t think we had one key player who performed consistency well over the full course of the season.
“We had guys who played very well for parts of the season and not so well in others.
“I met all the lads after the end of the season and they were the first to admit that.
“I don’t think I had anyone who sat in my office and said, ‘I’m really happy with my year and have done great’.
“Most of them thought, ‘I did well but I could have done a bit better’.
“What that gives us when we come back is a massive scope to improve.”
Neil felt there was far more consistency shown by North End in his first season at the helm, a seventh-place finish in 2017/18 proof of that.
That level – and more – is the aim for next season.
“We were more consistent the season before,” said Neil.
“That first year started off okay, got good, got better, got very good and ended with some strong results. You saw a natural upward curve, whereas this season was a real mixed bag.
“Various things led to that – losing Sean Maguire and Billy Bodin in the week before the season killed us a bit.
“We then lost Josh Harrop a few games into the season, while we sporadically lost Ben Pearson.
“Ben got sent off three times, Ryan Ledson twice – that is five games for starters when we played with 10 men.
“As the season went on we lost Tom Barkhuizen, Brad Potts, Andrew Hughes – all big players for us.”