Mixed emotions for Preston boss after missing out on the play-offs

Preston North End boss Alex Neil admitted to mix emotions after their last-day victory over Burton Albion.

Monday, 7th May 2018, 11:09 am
Updated Monday, 7th May 2018, 11:11 am
PNE boss Alex Neil

Goals from Callum Robinson and Louis Moult gave them a 2-1 win at Deepdale, a result which wasn't enough to book them a play-off slot as Derby County beat Barnsley 4-1 to hold on to sixth place.

It did relegate the Brewers though, Bolton's 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest seeing them escape the bottom three at Burton's expense.

Robinson headed North End in front in the first half before they were reduced to 10 men in the 50th minute when Billy Bodin was sent-off for two bookings.

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Callum Robinson heads PNE in front against Burton

Hope Akpan levelled the scores just past the hour with a shot from outside the box and it stayed that way until the 93rd minute when substitute Moult finished off a counter-attack with a close-range finish.

Neil said: "We didn't win in the manner we had hoped to be honest.

"We had more chances to win the game far more comfortably than we did but that probably sums our season up in certain ways.

"One, in the fact we found a really difficult way to do it and two, we have missed too many opportunities if we really want to be a top team at this level.

Sean Maguire in action against Burton

"I think we missed four one-on-ones which at this level isn't going to get you to where you want to go."

However frustrated Neil was to come up just short in the play-off chase, he was proud of what his players had achieved during his first season in charge.

Neil said: "They are a great squad and I've been really privileged to coach them this year and I have thoroughly enjoyed this season with them,.

"There is so much more for them going forward, we finished with 73 points - 75 and above generally gets you into the play-offs so we are not far away.

"We have certainly got improvement to make but the lads have got heart, desire, effort and quality, I think we've had a fantastic season."

To get into the play-offs, North End needed to win and hope that Derby lost.

Derby ran out comfortable winners, leaving what happened at Deepdale academic in the top-six race.

"We didn't make them aware of anything which was going on elsewhere," said Neil.

"Until we went down to 10 men I didn't know what was going on elsewhere myself.

"I needed to think how to plan my 10 men, whether to put more behind the ball or keep two up front..

"The fact Derby were winning comfortably led me to keep two up front rather than go 4-4-1."