Preston boss Alex Neil saluted the quality of forwards Callum Robinson and Lukas Nmecha after they tore already-relegated Ipswich apart in a 4-0 hammering at Deepdale.
Both men scored two, with Robinson also assisting both of Nmecha’s goals, as North End kept their Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes mathematically alive and ended a four-game losing streak.
Republic of Ireland international Robinson rifled home the opener from the edge of the box after six minutes before volleying into the top corner midway through the first half.
The 24-year-old then saw his 56th-minute effort saved by Bartosz Bialkowski, only for Nmecha to slot home the rebound, before the rout was complete when Robinson intricately teed up the Manchester City loanee for his second goal 15 minutes from time.
“We had good quality at times when we needed it and Callum Robinson was involved in all four goals, so I think that shows his importance to us,” said Neil.
“He’s a good player, he is one of our key players. What he did here, not every player can do. He had the quality to damage them.
“After the last week it was important we came out and put on a good performance and put things right.
“I felt we played well and, although we were a bit loose at times, we got four goals, so I’m really pleased with that.”
The 20-year-old Nmecha has found goals hard to come by this season, having scored just twice in 40 appearances for Preston before this victory, but Neil has seen enough improvement from the talented youngster to predict an incredibly bright future.
“Lukas (Nmecha) will become a number nine, you could see that with his movement,” added the Preston boss. “He needed to simplify his game, young players can often try to overcomplicate it.
“What he has now become is an effective player, and he has shown that here. He has grown up a lot this year and I’m pleased with how he has developed on and off the pitch.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he will go on to be an excellent player.”
Ipswich boss Paul Lambert claims the limp display at Deepdale – in which Preston also hit the woodwork twice – was the worst performance he has seen since being appointed six months ago.
“We never turned up,” moaned Lambert. “We didn’t play well at all and I thought we looked a yard short.
“It was the most disappointing performance since I’ve been here. We didn’t do the ugly side of the game well enough and we can’t accept what has happened.
“We need to be better home and away next season. Things are sore for us at the moment but we have a young group and we will bounce back.
“We have been playing well but we have not finished off the good work. We have drawn too many games and it has killed us.
“In this match, we have not taken our chances and we have not defended well enough when we needed to.
“I’m not sure we could have got any more out of the players, we have done all we can to try and win games. That is football and we have to learn from it.”