MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 23:21:12
Dec 15, 2018 at 3pm UK at ​Deepdale Stadium (Preston)
PrestonPreston North End
Browne (37'), Barkhuizen (42'), Hughes (81')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Cooper (61'), Gregory (90')

Neil knows Preston need scrappy wins to climb Championship table

Neil knows Preston need scrappy wins to climb Championship table
© Reuters
The 3-2 win over Millwall left them closer to the play-offs than the relegation zone.

Alex Neil knows Preston are going to rely on scrappy performances like their 3-2 win over Millwall to climb the Sky Bet Championship table.

Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen sent the Lilywhites clear in the first half before they lost their grip on the contest after the interval, holding on thanks to Andrew Hughes’ late strike.

But Neil, who has shepherded his side away from relegation trouble with a run of a single defeat in 12 league games, does not care how wins come as his team begin to look up rather than down.

“These type of games and teams never really make for a spectacle,” he said.

“They tend to be very direct, it is absolutely freezing and in the second half our performance wasn’t great.

“But I think there are certain games over the season that results are more important than performances and I think that today certainly falls into that category.

“I thought that it was a bit of a mixed performance on the whole.

“In the first half we controlled the ball well, but we did not look to penetrate them enough, and I thought the balance wasn’t quite right at times.

“But two great passes from Paul Gallagher opened the game up in the first half. The first one, which goes through Lukas Nmecha, gets the goal and his pass for the second goal was a cracker.

“It wasn’t great, but at the end of the day we have got three points, another win under our belts and we are now closer to the play-offs than the drop zone.”

Early on Millwall looked reliant on set pieces to find a breakthrough, with Shaun Hutchinson heading over from Jed Wallace’s corner after 23 minutes.

But clever interplay helped Browne break the deadlock and Barkhuizen’s finish left the visitors with a mountain to climb in Lancashire.

Millwall hauled themselves back into it on the hour, Jake Cooper nodding in at the back post as Preston failed to clear Shane Ferguson’s deep corner.

Hughes’ goal assuaged any late nerves, with Lee Gregory’s injury time strike proving in vain.

Millwall remain in the relegation zone on goal difference after Reading drew 1-1 with Rotherham and manager Neil Harris has seen it all before.

“It was groundhog day for us, we’ve conceded five or six chances and conceded three goals,” he said.

“At the other end we’ve created about 10 clear cut chances and scored two and ultimately we’ve come away with nothing from the game.

“In the 30 or so minutes before they score the opening goal, I cannot remember Preston being in our penalty area, but the two times the ball goes into our penalty area in the first half we concede.

“We simply cannot give opportunities like that away and expect to get away with it, because at this level it gives you a mountain to climb.

“If you wanted 90 minutes to sum up our season in a nutshell, that was it.

“We can’t keep blaming bad luck, players have to start taking responsibility, and I have to be honest enough to say that we have to change what we are doing, or change personnel.

“All of the attacking stats are in our favour compared to last season, we are creating more chances and scoring more goals, but we are conceding too many goals and that is a problem.”

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