Under pressure Preston North End boss admits he is looking over his shoulder at the relegation zone after defeat to Luton

Preston North End manager Alex Neil says he is looking over his shoulder at the relegation zone in the wake of the Deepdale defeat to Luton Town.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 6:44 pm

The pressure is piling up on Neil, this their 20th Championship defeat of the season.

Luton got the only goal of the contest seven minutes from time, James Collins' shot from a tight angle going in off North End goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.

It was harsh on Iversen who had a good game, making a superb save from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall moments before, the rebound which Collins turned goalwards.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil at the final whistle against Luton

Although North End stayed in 16th place, the gap between them and 22nd place Rotherham is down to nine points - the Millers have four games in hand too.

What is worrying for Neil's men is that their three games after the international break are against three of the current top four - Norwich, Swansea and Brentford.

Asked if he was having to look over his shoulder, at the lower reaches of the Championship, Neil said: "I have been looking over my shoulder now for the last six games, let's not be fooled.

"I have been looking over my shoulder since the window closed, I think I made the comment at the time that we were in dangerous territory with all the upheaval we have allowed to happen.

PNE substitute Sean Maguire at the final whistle against Luton

"It has come to fruition hasn't it?"

A couple of times recently, Neil has name checked Hull City who dropped like a stone last season and were relegated.

Again, Neil mentioned Hull in the post-match press conference.

"It is difficult not to liken it to Hull at the moment," said Neil.

"Let's be honest, the games we have played we are not going to places and getting beat four or five nil, getting picked off.

"What is happening now is that in that moment in a game, whether it a defensive clearance or an opportunity to score, we don't find ourselves on the right end of those often enough.

"We don't choose the right one. When you add that up over the course of a game, you don't pick points up at this level."

It was a poor game against the Hatters, one which looked destined for a 0-0 draw until the Hatters' late goal.

Neil said: "I didn't think there was much in the match, they didn't do enough to win it and we didn't do enough to win.

"The way things have gone for us recently, it didn't surprise me that things went against us.

"There was a lack of quality and you could certainly see a lack of confidence. On four or five different occasions we could have brought the ball down and made a pass but just turned it.

"The basics we are finding difficult to do if I'm being honest. That makes it difficult to win any football match

"I didn't think we lacked effort, the boys had a go, they ran about, they tried. but we just didn't do well enough. It is as simple as that."

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