Neil: Preston deserve hell of a lot of credit
Alex Neil praised his Preston players for beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 despite having their “backs against the wall”.
Daniel Johnson scored twice from the penalty spot to help move Preston into the top six and record back-to-back victories after their midweek win over Stoke.
Sheffield Wednesday defender Moses Odubajo will be keen to forget this game as he was at fault for both penalties and was later hauled off by caretaker manager Lee Bullen.
But the points belonged to Preston and boss Neil was delighted.
He said: “The players deserve a hell of a lot of credit because we deserved to win.
“We have played in different ways in the last two games and won both.
“First half we were definitely better and we needed the first goal because Wednesday were stubborn and sat behind the ball.
“Thankfully we had the penalty to break the deadlock.
“As a player, you need to go through the moments where your back is against the wall.
“You’re not going to comfortably win games at this level all the time.
“Our balance was good, even when the other team sat deep and it was hard to get in around them.
“We wanted to dominate the ball like we did, but while having an eye on the fact they were going to counter on the attack.
“At the end of the day, the fans just want us to win games and they are not interested how you do it and, to be honest, I just want to win games.”
There was not much in the way of chances in the first half, with the Owls, who had netted six goals in their previous four games, mustering just two efforts on goal – and neither were on target.
Preston were not that much more efficient, hitting the target twice in the first half from two efforts, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
They took the lead in the 32nd minute when striker Sean Maguire was brought down in the area by Wednesday right-back Odubajo.
Referee Robert Jones pointed to the spot, with Johnson hitting the ball under Keiren Westwood, although the Wednesday goalkeeper got a hand to it.
The home side made it 2-0 in the 65th minute after Odubajo again fouled Maguire in the box and Johnson stepped up to score his second penalty of the afternoon and fourth goal of the campaign.
Wednesday pulled one back in the 78th minute when Adam Reach’s cross was headed home by Steven Fletcher.
Wednesday caretaker manager Lee Bullen said: “Ultimately, two mistakes cost us, but we don’t throw anyone under the bus.
“There is a kid in the changing room who is really disappointed, but we get round him and back him up.
“As I said to the players in the dressing room, one thing we don’t do as a team is throw anybody under the bus or leave anyone hung out to dry.
“He is a good player and has played in the Premier League. He had an off day.
“It’s about supporting the kid and that’s what good teams do.
“There was nothing in the game except for the two penalties and we were fantastic for the last 15 minutes.
“We had a go, I’ve always said we’ll have a go no matter what and the lads deserve a lot of credit for having a go.”