Preston boss on how Millwall's back three and wing-backs helped Lions gain control at Deepdale

PRESTON boss Alex Neil gave an insight into how Millwall's system, with three centre-backs and wing-backs Mahlon Romeo and Murray Wallace pushing high up the pitch, got the better of his set-up in the Lions' 1-0 win at Deepdale on Saturday.

Wallace set up Shaun Hutchinson for the 78th-minute winner as Millwall made their way back into the top-six conversation.

Preston's lone striker David Nugent was supported by Scott Sinclair and Tom Barkhuizen in the wide positions, with Daniel Johnson and Alan Browne joining the attack from central midfield.

The hosts created a number of good early chances, but Gary Rowett's side eventually gained control of the contest and dominated the second half.

Preston's only real opportunity after the break was substitute Paul Gallagher's injury-time free-kick that was saved by Bart Bialkowski.

"Nuge was against their back three, started to fatigue and couldn't get out to shut them down," Neil said.

"They were starting to force us back and our wide players were having to drop back with their wing-backs.

"If I put Jayden [Stockley] on we would have struggled to get up the pitch. We could have turned it to him but if our wide players had gambled it would have left their wing-backs free.

"I put Josh Harrop on to try and drift, give that extra man in the middle, put Gally on to try and put his foot on the ball, which he generally does.

"But we didn't really pick the ball up, Millwall's shape got the better of our shape.

"When they scored I then matched them up and put two up front.

Shaun Hutchinson heads in the winner past Preston's Declan Rudd

"Many times this season I've talked about when it gets to the stage where you have to decide whether to twist or stick, I will always gamble to win a game.

"I did that against Millwall and it didn't work.

"If people want to criticise me for that, I'm fine with it, I've no issues.

"I made a change last week at Stoke, I brought Gally on and he set up the second goal.

"People were saying that was a stroke of genius but it was more a case of putting him on because he was good at corners.

"Sometimes things go your way, sometimes not."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly