Preston North End boss Alex Neil ‘frustrated’ but keeping calm

Alex Neil says there is no need to panic despite Preston North End’s frustrating defeat at home to Millwall at the weekend.

Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 5:00 am
PNE manager Alex Neil

PNE went into the game unbeaten in six, winning four of their games including back-to-back away wins against Wigan Athletic and Stoke City inside the last week.

They also boasted – and still do on goals scored – the best home record in 
the division before the weekend.

But despite a lacklustre performance, Lilywhites boss Neil is looking at things from a wider perspective, and refusing to accept any harsh words said against his team in the wake of the defeat.

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He said: “It’s not a concern, sometimes we need to take stock of where we are.

“Who are we trying to kid? We’re sitting sixth in the league and the boys have done remarkably – it’s absolutely remarkable to be in the situation we are.

“I would get extremely frustrated with anyone who is going to level criticism at them, because they gave it their best shot.

“I made a couple of decisions that didn’t work, I’ll take responsibility for that, but they never shy away from their responsibility.

“They leave everything on the pitch.

“Did we play well 
on Saturday? No, we didn’t at times but that will happen.”

The only goal of the game came following a cleared corner which was headed back into the box and nodded in 
by Millwall’s Shaun Hutchinson.

It was a bit of a rarity for Preston who normally defend well from set-pieces since switching to zonal marking under Neil.

They have conceded 10 times from set-plays this season, compared to 22 in open play, four penalties and an own goal.

Neil believes it is easy to get carried away with negativity at times and 
thinks any criticism is unwarranted.

“We lost the game at a 
set-play, albeit they had chances, too” he said.

“What happens is people take away the second half – if the game was flipped on its head and it ended as we started, we had three really good chances in the first 
half.

“It swings about – when the wind does pick up in that last 30 minutes, it is really difficult at that point.

“Millwall can be hard to break down, certainly when we’ve got the ball, and it’s a big back five.

“Trying to puncture that and play through that in the conditions we had, with the rain that came down, it’s easy to criticise.

“Everybody’s frustrated because we wanted to win the game.”