Preston North End manager Alex Neil laments missed early chances in the Deepdale defeat to Sheffield United

PNE manager Alex Neil on the touchline during the Sheffield United game
PNE manager Alex Neil on the touchline during the Sheffield United game

Preston North End boss Alex Neil felt early missed opportunities proved decisive in his side's defeat to Sheffield United at Deepdale.

The Lilywhites had a few sights of the Blades' goal in the early stages before David McGoldrick netted the visitors' winner in the 33rd minute.

Ryan Ledson challenges Enda Stevens

Ryan Ledson challenges Enda Stevens

That came from a corner, Declan Rudd having tipped a header from John Egan against the bar, McGoldrick following up to score.

Neil also felt United's extra experience was a factor in them seeing the game out to take the three points back to South Yorkshire.

Neil said: "The game was going to be decided on who limits mistakes and who takes their opportunities when they come along.

"Both teams had opportunities and the biggest disappointment for us is that we had four really good chances before Sheffield United scored.

Preston's Lukas Nmecha chases the ball against Sheffield United

Preston's Lukas Nmecha chases the ball against Sheffield United

"We got in behind them down the right-hand side three times, golden opportunities really.

"There was the one when Callum Robinson went straight through the keeper makes a good save.

"They got their goal through us dwelling on the ball in the middle of the pitch and giving the ball away under pressure.

"That resulted in a corner and we had talked about their lad spinning around the back.

"We didn't pick him up and that is disappointing when it is something you prep for.

"They didn't surprise us with anything they had done.

"I felt the age of the two squads was something to think about, that little bit of nous and know-how which they had was maybe the biggest difference."

Neil felt other aspects of the performance were pleasing enough, that probably adding to the frustrating North End were left empty-handed.

"I would say we played today than we had probably done in the last three or four games," said Neil.

"We won nine points out of nine before the international break but we played better today than in any of those.

"I thought we looked threatening, I thought Sheffield United threw caution to the wind and went aggressive, it made for a good game."