Preston North End striker Louis Moult spells out his formula for success
Louis Moult believes Preston North End fans are now starting to see what he is all about.
The striker came off the bench to score a 93rd-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Hull on Saturday, having popped up in similar circumstances in the six-goal thriller at Aston Villa.
Moult’s first few months at Deepdale since his January move from Motherwell have been far from straightforward.
But all along both player and manager have pointed to his qualities in the 18-yard box which were certainly on display at Villa Park and the KCOM Stadium.
The 26-year-old now hopes two key goals can be a platform for better things to come, having adapted to life in Lancashire.
“I think every goal I’ve scored for Preston has been in the box,” said Moult.
“Previous to that most of my goals were in the penalty area as well.
“It’s just getting the ball in the box!
“That’s my game – I am a finisher.
“It’s a tougher league and how do you work that ball into the box without just pumping the ball forwards?
“It probably has taken a bit of time to adjust to this playing style.
“It’s totally different to what I was used to, hence why you probably see me working outside the box a little bit more with my back to goal, because this team plays good football.
“But when the ball does get worked in that final third and wide, it does allow me to get in the box and that’s what you saw on Saturday.”
In some respects therefore it is no coincidence that Moult’s recent goals have come when the Lilywhites have been chasing the game and throwing more balls into the penalty area.
His header against Villa completed a remarkable turnaround and put PNE 3-2 before they were dramatically pegged back.
On Humberside, a fine right-footed finish sealed an unlikely point after Jarrod Bowen’s 85th-minute penalty had given Hull a late lead.
“In this division a lot of the football is to do with the tactics,” Moult said.
“Up to 60 minutes it’s more about, ‘How can we get an extra man here and there’ and it’s not as full-throttle as what I’ve been used to.
“Maybe in Scotland it’s a bit more direct.
“Players would find half a yard and put a cross in the box and you’d get your striker on the end of it if you could.
“That seems to happen in the last 10, 15, 20 minutes of games in the Championship.
“As a squad we need to find a way of starting like that and putting pressure on the back four straight away because, let’s face it, defenders don’t like defending.
“I’ve always said put the ball in the box and let the defenders try and defend because they don’t like it. It’s as simple as that.”
Of Moult’s 24 appearances for PNE since he moved back to England at the start of the year, 14 have come from the bench.
While it has been tough going at times, the Stoke-born frontman says his approach has not changed as he has bid to become a regular fixture in Alex Neil’s side.
“I always address each day the same,” Moult said.
“I come in, I work hard and try and get my opportunity. I believe I’ll get my rewards somewhere down the line.”
He is one of many players – Lukas Nmecha, Jordan Storey, Andrew Hughes and Ryan Ledson included – who have had to find their way in the Championship having never played in the second tier before joining PNE.
“It’s a difficult league,” the striker said.
“You hear famous managers saying it week in, week out.
“I don’t think there’s an easy game, there certainly hasn’t been since I’ve been at this football club.
“Even when we’ve beaten teams 3-0 or 4-0, for the first 30 minutes it’s neck and neck.
“More or less it’s who scores that first goal that goes on to win the game.
“That’s the thing we need to do more of, trying to get that first goal and then being solid.
“We managed to do that against Wigan.
“Once we scored that first goal we were never going to lose the game. That just seems to happen quite a lot in this league.”
Moult believes the league has got even tougher this time around, given the clubs that have arrived in the second tier after their respective promotions and relegations.
“A few of the big boys have come down and the clubs coming up have done well,” he said.
“That makes it difficult but we strengthened as well.
“As soon as we get a little bit of luck, which we are getting now, we can climb our way up the table.”