Preston boss Alex Neil confident attack is still the best form of defence

Alex Neil insists Preston North End will continue to put their foot firmly on the accelerator despite their defensive record.

Thursday, 25th October 2018, 9:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th October 2018, 10:28 pm

The Lilywhites got the better of a seven-goal thriller with Brentford on Wednesday night but the three conceded means PNE have let in the most goals in the Championship this season – 28.

Despite that, Rotherham are next up at Deepdale on Saturday with North End, 19th, looking to extend their unbeaten record to five games with eight points coming from the previous four matches.

“If you do try and settle it down then you lose that attacking impetus,” said Neil, whose side are also the joint-third highest scorers with 23 goals.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil

“I’ve said before, when you’re trying to win games that’s when you risk losing them. But I’d much rather go and try and win games than just protect what we’ve got. 
I think the way we play that naturally suits us, we’re better going on the front foot and being aggressive.

“I think over the course of a season you’re better winning and then losing and winning and then losing rather than setting up not to lose and picking up a point here and a point there.

“You pick up more points over the piece.

“We’re not neglecting defending, we work from the front and we defend as well as we can.

“But our biggest asset at the moment is attacking.”

Neil says the players are firmly on board with that plan of attack.

“They’re a big driving force,” he said.

“I wouldn’t ask them to do something that I didn’t think they could do or something they wouldn’t be comfortable doing.

“If they don’t believe it in it doesn’t work.

“We spoke after the Sheffield United game where we set up more cautiously because we hadn’t been on a good run and the feedback from them was that they want to be aggressive and be in people’s faces.

“We’ve attacked almost every game like that but the simple fact is that this division is so difficult and so competitive that you’re win some games and lose some games.”

The PNE boss believes the league is far more open in general this year, something which has contributed to his side’s high-scoring games.

“I remember Barnsley, Millwall to an extent and Burton Albion coming here last season and sitting behind the ball and making it difficult,” said Neil.

“I can’t think of anyone we’ve played home or away this season that’s really sat behind the ball.

“You either match that or surrender possession but to be honest I don’t think there’s anyone that we should fear enough to do that.”