Result rather than display pleases Alex Neil after PNE's win at Sheffield United

Preston North End boss Alex Neil admitted his side's performance in the victory over Sheffield United had not been 'vintage' but it was the result which mattered.

It was a battling 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, a 57th minute goal from Alan Browne enough to bring the three points back over the Pennines.

Alan Browne is congratulated by Callum Robinson and Greg Cunningham after scoring PNE's winner

Alan Browne is congratulated by Callum Robinson and Greg Cunningham after scoring PNE's winner

Victory means PNE's play-off hopes go down to the final day against Burton Albion, although they will still need favours from elsewhere to make the top six.

Neil said: "We did our job of taking it to the last game.

"I think it was one of those games where you take the result and the performance separately.

"It was probably as poor as we have played technically in terms of moving the ball and controlling the game but we still managed to win.

PNE hold out against late pressure from Sheffield United - which included them sending their keeper up for a corner

PNE hold out against late pressure from Sheffield United - which included them sending their keeper up for a corner

"There have been plenty of times when we have played very well and not won which is frustrating.

"I don't want to take anything away from the players because they dug in and did what they needed to but it wasn't a vintage performance from the lads and won't live long in the memory I don't think."

North End had a couple of early chances in a game where a draw was no good to either side in terms of making the top six.

The home side then got on top, Neil relieved to get to the interval level.

Paul Huntington salutes the PNE fans at the final whistle

Paul Huntington salutes the PNE fans at the final whistle

Neil said: "I thought we started brightly, we were quite sharp and to be fair to Sheffield United I thought they grew into the game.

"They dominated from about 20 minutes in through to half-time, we had to change our shape just to get us through to half-time.

"At half-time I had a chat with the boys, simplified things, matched them up, went three at the back and two up front, made it more of a battling game.

"I said to them if you go and win the second half, no one remembers the first half.

"At this stage of the season no one remembers if you played well, they remember what the result is.

"They dug in, put their bodies on the line and got the goal which was important."

Browne's goal was his ninth of the season, the midfielder finding the net after Blades goalkeeper Jamal Blackman had parried a Josh Harrop shot.

Said Neil: "We managed to work the ball down the left well, Josh got in a good shot which the keeper didn't hold and Browney stuck it in the net.

"At that stage it was a case of whoever scored the first goal would go on and win the game."