Neil salutes Preston ‘bravery’ after battling display stings Bees
Preston boss Alex Neil hailed his side’s bravery after a battling performance sank Brentford.
Sean Maguire and Tom Barkhuizen grabbed the goals that secured a hard-earned win against the Bees.
Maguire’s early goal edged Neil’s men ahead and Barkhuizen struck after the break to wrap up victory.
Afterwards Neil revealed his side had to be aggressive and brave against defiant opponents.
“I thought it was a tough game,” said Neil. “I think tactically, they’re probably the hardest team in the league at the moment to play against because of their shape and in terms of how you need to play.
“I think we knew the first 20 to 30 minutes were really important. We wanted to play on top of them and force ourselves onto them, to try to blitz them and get a couple of goals.
“I think that we were really brave in terms of how we set up. We wanted to be aggressive.
“We knew that they were going to play around and through us at times and we spoke about just narrowing and compacting on the edge of the box.”
Brentford boss Thomas Frank named an unchanged starting team and Neil made four alterations from the Preston side that drew with Forest before the international break.
Maguire’s penalty appeal after going down under Mathias Jensen’s challenge was rejected by referee David Coote early on but moments later he found himself in acres of space in the box to control Ryan Ledson’s cross and tuck past David Raya.
The Lilywhites grabbed their second with 20 minutes remaining after Darnell Fisher on the right slid in a low cross for Barkhuizen to slot into an empty net following more questionable Brentford defending.
Frank said: “I think that the best team won the game on the day. I think Preston were better than us.
“I think the game was played on their terms, more than on our terms. We didn’t control the game well enough.
“We didn’t win enough duels and second balls, especially in the middle of the pitch.
“When we had the opportunities to create something, we lacked the quality on the day.
“The second half was better but we were not up there to really threaten the game.”