NEIL: PRESSURE IS ON PLAY-OFF RIVALS, NOT US
Alan Browne hit the only goal of the game as North End won at Sheffield United to leave them two points behind Derby County in sixth place.
And Neil says his side must make sure they beat Burton in their last match and be in a place to take advantage of any slip-ups.
“The pressure is on the other teams now, they have to get the result. We just have to make sure we get a result and take advantage if they slip up,” he said. “If we do not do that then we don’t deserve to be in the play-offs.
“It certainly wasn’t a vintage performance. It became a really cagey game, with us trying to see the game out, which is not what I wanted to happen. But nobody talks about performance. We will take the three points.
“Whoever scored the first goal was going to win the game. It was always going to be tight.”
Blades boss Chris Wilder said he would not be able to take United forward next season unless the board resolve the ongoing ownership battle.
“This is a brilliant club, one that’s close to my heart and one I want to take forward,” he said. “The ownership issue needs to be resolved soon.
“It’s 100 per cent critical it has to be resolved. I can’t do my job properly unless there is direction and a decision.
“I really shouldn’t be talking about this, but unfortunately I am. I’ll always be honest. If people don’t like that, they’ll have to deal with it.
“I want to go forward with this football club. And why wouldn’t I? I was nearly in tears at the end because I know what a brilliant club this is.”
Lee Evans had a shot blocked by Callum Robinson on 12 minutes as both teams struggled to get into their stride.
Paul Huntington got a good block in to deny Leon Clarke three minutes later as the Blades started to get going.
The visitors were given a break when the referee turned down shouts for a penalty when Billy Sharpe’s cross hit Greg Cunningham’s arm.
Declan Rudd superbly saved from Clarke at point-blank range on 35 minutes, while Cunningham made an excellent headed block on the stroke of half-time to keep out John Fleck’s firm shot.
Clarke had a curling effort saved by Rudd just after the restart before Chris Basham had to clear Sean Maguire’s cross off his own line.
Alan Browne put the visitors ahead in the 57th minute when he pounced on the rebound after Josh Harrop’s long-range effort had been saved. Substitute Tom Clarke had a goal ruled out for Preston by the offside flag seconds after entering the pitch, while Enda Stevens headed wide on 71 minutes after good work down the right by Basham.
David Brooks had a shot pushed over by Rudd before Fleck had an effort blocked in the 77th minute as the Blades stepped up their hunt for an equaliser.
Brookes and Mark Duffy both had shots blocked in the final minute of normal time as the Blades were unable to cut their way through.