MATCH REPORT: Preston North End 4-0 Wigan AthleticThe 4-0 win at Deepdale was their first in the Championship since the opening day and lifted them off the foot of the table.
Tom Barkhuizen fired North End in front in the first half, with Callum Robinson netting early in the second half.
Late goals from Paul Gallagher (pen) and Robinson wrapped-up the points against a Wigan side who had Darron Gibson sent-off for a lunge on Ben Pearson with the scoreline at 2-0.
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Neil said: "We didn't start too brightly, for the first five minutes we were a bit timid.
"We had spoken about getting the ball down the sides of them because Wigan are really aggressive with their line, so we thought that with our pace and movement at the top end we could create problems.
"Lukas Nmecha's movement and his power was excellent.
"We got the first goal which was great, it came from a good bit of movement from Tom and a great reverse ball from Alan Browne.
"We should have had a penalty when Lukas was brought down, it was a great ball from DJ to play him through.
"It is always a worry when you have a lot of the play but don't have the goals to show for it.
"We spoke at half-time and I told them we had been here so many times before, so we had to go and make the second half count - get another goal to go and win the match.
"We did that, I thought we were good.
"There are still things we can improve on but today was more about the points.
"To do that by scoring four goals, getting Sean Maguire back on the pitch and keeping a clean sheet, if I had to write a script beforehand that would probably have been it."
The clean sheet was especially pleasing for Neil who picked a new centre-half pairing of Tom Clarke and Jordan Storey.
Paul Huntington missed the game with a groin strain, with Ben Davies on the bench.
Neil said: "I made a big decision leaving Ben Davies out, he had been an ever-present apart from Norwich.
"I put young Jordan in - him and Tom did very well.
"It was pleasing we got the clean sheet because that has to be your foundation - you have to be defensively solid
"We haven't been solid this season - we have been scoring goals but not keeping clean sheets.
"In terms of moving the ball from middle to front we have definitely improved from last season but we need to make sure we are keeping the back door shut.
"Today, that was a big factor in the game"