Neil: Preston ‘brilliant’ in Stoke victory

Alex Neil described his Preston players as “brilliant” after their deserved 2-0 win at Stoke and says the way they played is testament to the quality of their squad.

Alan Browne opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the campaign after Darnell Fisher’s shot had been saved on 20 minutes.

Declan Rudd saved superbly to keep out Sam Clucas on 52 minutes before Joe Allen had a shot cleared off the line a minute later.

But the visitors stood firm and wrapped it up after Brad Potts finished off a counter-attack with 10 minutes to play.

There was still time for Rudd to turn a stoppage-time Clucas penalty onto the crossbar as Preston sealed a first win at Stoke in more than 20 years.

“I’m delighted with the lads, I thought they were brilliant today,” said Neil.

“It was a continuation of what we did at QPR. We changed the shape to control the ball more and we were in control throughout the game. I thought we were great.

“We moved the ball really well and made we made Stoke change their formation before half-time which was a compliment to us.”

“We knew that with the players we have back, the players we have brought in and the way we performed last week, if we could carry that on we were confident we could get the result.

“The penalty save was a key moment for us because if they had got a goal at that stage in the game, with five or six minutes to play, it could have been a difficult end to the game.

“It was a big save from Declan and I’m really pleased for him.”

A disappointed Nathan Jones demanded Stoke improve their levels of consistency.

Jones took over from Gary Rowett earlier this month and last week’s win over leaders Leeds appeared to signal a corner had been turned.

“There is a big inconsistency at the moment and we need to address that,” he said.

“We did not start well, we did not keep the ball well enough and we lacked energy.

“We did not impose ourselves and we showed the inconsistency we have had all season, we need to change that.”

Jones felt he had picked a side capable of dealing with Preston’s threats and was naturally disappointed to see them come up short.

However, he still sees plenty to be positive about as sets about his work in the Potteries.

“We were light in midfield, but we picked a good enough side to go out and play well, but we did not do that.

“We were quite passive, we picked it up a bit in the second half but we need to be better than that.

“Both goals were avoidable and that is disappointing, they hit us on the break and we did not see the danger and get back in and defend.

“The positive is that we will get better. We have had time to work on things as a group, who are low in confidence. We have to keep working hard and go forward, we have to be better.”

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