Neil - A Thoroughly Deserved Sheff Wednesday Win
Alex Neil got off to a winning start as his first competitive game in charge of Preston ended in a 1-0 victory over much fancied Sheffield Wednesday, which the boss though was 'thoroughly deserved.'
Deepdale looked like it could witness a goalless drawn to start the Championship season until Tom Lees' foul on Jordan Hugill, who remains a Preston player despite speculation surrounding his future, saw a penalty awarded.
Daniel Johnson stepped up and made no mistake as he beat Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, previously keeping out earlier Preston efforts as Tommy Spurr also headed against the crossbar, to secure a late win.
Neil thought Preston had been excellent on the afternoon and told the Official Website he thought it was a three points most definitely deserved, the boss' only frustration was the fact North End didn't score more.
'I thought it was a game in which we thoroughly deserved to win. It was a good performance against one of the teams who are tipped to do well this season. I thought we were better in every department today so it was a perfect start. We did more than enough to win the game - the only thing we can be frustrated about is the fact we didn't score more goals and that we needed a penalty to open the deadlock but in terms of how we attacked and how we defended, I thought we were excellent.'
Adding: 'The lads have got a real good understanding with what we're trying to do and they showed all of that today. It's difficult to single anybody out today and that shows our strength in depth in the fact that the lads have come on and they too have made an impact on the game. The likes of Greg Cunningham, Chris Maxwell, Paul Huntington, Tommy Spurr - they've been about and they showed great experience in letting the game fizzle out and were comfortable throughout the match.'
Debuts were handed to Darnell Fisher and Sean Maguire, technically signed before Neil arrived, and the Scot was pleased with their impact and that of Hugill, who 'did the rest' after Maguire had 'softened the centre backs' during his time on the pitch.
The boss finished by recalling how important the fans would be to Preston, which was mentioned during the summer, praising the past they played as over 18,000 attended Deepdale on Saturday.
He's hopeful of more of the same, knowing that will happen if the fans are given something to support.
Neil said: 'What we've spoke about internally is getting as many fans through the gate as we can and what we want to do is play as well as we can and win as many games as we can - hopefully the fans will come back because if the lads continue to perform that way they deserve that kind of support.'