Ex-City boss can boost Canaries’ promotion bid

PUBLISHED: 18:45 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 20:42 09 April 2019

Alex Neil's Preston host Leeds United in the Championship  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil's Preston host Leeds United in the Championship Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

Former Norwich City manager Alex Neil could do his old club a favour on Tuesday night when his Preston team face Championship promotion hopefuls Leeds.

Leeds are already eight points behind Daniel Farke’s squad in third and desperate to avoid falling further off the pace following a damaging 1-0 weekend defeat at Birmingham.

Preston must win at Deepdale to boost their own fading play-off hopes, after losing to second-placed Sheffield United, and Neil is refusing to get distracted by questions about his own future amid strong links to West Brom.

“I can’t control what people write,” said the Scot. “As I’ve said before I’ve not spoken to anyone from West Brom, I’ve not heard anything from West Brom apart from what you are telling me.

“I’m just cracking on with my job here, I enjoy it here, I’ve got no intention of leaving. We are planning for the remaining six games of the season and seeing what happens next season for us.

“We have already put plans in place for pre-season so I’m not even thinking of anything else.

“Leeds are going to be a different proposition than Sheffield United were due to the way they play. I’d say that Leeds have been the most impressive team over the course of the season even though they are sitting in third. I like the way they play, they are aggressive and have got aggressive runners.

“I think they have been good to watch this season.”

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa says Preston are “different” to other teams in the Championship.

“In all the games we play, the conditions will be the same - you have to win in all of these games,” said the Argentinian.

“They’re a different team in the Championship and they play with a different style. The players they use for this style are different to normal players. The desire to be in first or second position, it’s a very high motivation because it’s the objective of one year of work. In the last part of the season we want to solve this situation and our motivation is high.”

Bielsa said Leeds need strong minds for the remainder of the season.

“Sometimes the evidence is shown by the team,” he said. “We can compare the strong mind to the adversity we have faced.

“The mind aspect and physical aspect are both linked. A strong mind means you can make use of all of your capabilities.

“We can’t talk about our team. Watching our team, I have never seen us overcome by the nerves. We know how to live with it.”

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