Alex Neil demands level heads despite Preston’s fine form



Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by PA

Alex Neil demands level heads despite Preston’s fine form

Alex Neil hailed his Preston side’s efforts as they produced a four-star showing to down Lancashire rivals Blackburn 4-1 and extend their impressive recent unbeaten run.

Goals from Tom Barkhuizen, Callum Robinson, Louis Moult and Alan Browne stretched the home team’s positive record as Preston dominated from start to finish – and Neil was delighted with what he saw.

Blackburn, whose only consolation came through a second-half Danny Graham goal, are now without an away win since October 6.

But Neil believes Preston’s present form can still improve and called on his men to remain level-headed in the weeks ahead.

“I thought it was a good performance today,” said Neil. “We started great, got a 2-0 lead, created some great chances and finished our chances really well.

“We started brightly in the second half, but then they got their goal, and that stage we have a decision to make as to whether or not we go for it.

“But we were aggressive, we wanted to win, and I think that we fully deserved it.

“We had the better goal scoring chances in the game, particularly in the second half and I thought we could have actually scored more.

“The reaction to conceding, to come back and finish the game off was probably the most pleasing aspect for me.

“We really took the game to Blackburn at that stage, rather than being happy with what we had we were searching for ways to win the game, instead of sitting on it and potentially ending up a draw.

“At the end of the day we got the win, against our local rivals, the lads played well, and I am pleased.”

The hosts flew out of the blocks and into a 2-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes. Barkhuizen opened the scoring after just two minutes, sweeping home at the far post from Browne’s low cross.

Robinson doubled the hosts lead in the eighth minute, with his ninth Championship goal of 2018-19, firing home from 15 yards following a through ball from Republic of Ireland team-mate Browne.

Rovers started the second half determined to make an immediate impact, and half-time substitute Graham pulled one back just three minutes after the restart.

Neil’s side secured the three points in the 74th minute, as substitute Moult turned in Barkhuizen’s deflected shot following a great run and cross from Ben Pearson.

Browne capped a man-of-the-match performance with a fourth Preston goal in the 85th minute.

Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray said: “Much of our defending was uncharacteristic of ourselves today. I felt that we did not deal with their front player at all today.

“There were also some individual errors and collectively we played too deep and invited trouble.

“If I was looking for excuses for today, I could say that (Charlie) Mulgrew and (Darragh) Lenihan have hardly trained in the last fortnight, due to injury and international duty, and that showed today.

“We need to go away now and work hard to get back to the levels that we know we can play at.

“Despite going behind early on, I felt that we dominated the last half an hour of the first half, controlled the game and created opportunities but could not score from them.

“Then at 3-1 we have a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside against Bradley Dack, who is clearly onside and that is frustrating.

“But let’s not look too deeply at this today, we lost 4-1 to a rival, we know that we have to be better than this in the upcoming games and it is as simple as that.”

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