Joy and relief for PNE boss Alex Neil at late win over QPR

Preston North End manager Alex Neil said it was with a sense of relief that he saw his side's late winner against Queens Park Rangers hit the back of the net.

Saturday, 2nd December 2017, 10:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:11 pm
PNE boss Alex Neil

Jordan Hugill struck in the 88th minute at Deepdale, North End having found it difficult to find a way past a QPR side who played with 10 men from the 22nd onwards after Jame Mackie was sent-off for a foul on Tom Clarke.

Neil said: "It was relief as much as anything else because when you play against 10 men people think it is easy to roll them over and go and win the game.

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PNE boss Alex Neil

"What QPR were always going to pose was a counter-attack threat, particularly when the big lad Matt Smith came on and they put balls up to him.

"We had to be on our guard, we had to be patient and move the ball quickly.

"We went two up top before half-time but I felt we couldn't get the ball to them well enough so that was the reason I had to put an extra man in the middle of the park in the second half.

"I made a couple of tactical changes at half-time to give us natural width on both sides and a wee bit of creativity with Josh Harrop.

Tom Clarke wins a header on his return to the PNE team

"It was frustrating for spells. The fans' anticipation of getting that goal and desperation for getting that goal, you could feel it.

"We were the same because we were desperate to get it.

"But what we had to be was composed, patient and keep moving that ball."

Neil substituted both Clarke and Alan Browne at the interval, replacing them with Harrop and Kevin O'Connor - the North End boss confirming both were tactical changes, not injury enforced.

PNE boss Alex Neil

Commenting on the red card for Mackie in the first half, Neil said: "I'm unsure whether it is the right decision.

"What I do know is that having watched it, is that Tom gets to the ball first, their lad is late.

"Now whether there is contact enough for it to be a sending-off, I couldn't tell you.

"It was straight on, Tom slides in, the lad comes in and I was behind it.

Tom Clarke wins a header on his return to the PNE team

"The referee has had a good view of it and has made that decision quite early."