Simon Grayson was in good spirits following North End’s third win on the spin as their unbeaten start to League One continued.
The Lilywhites recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Stevenage, pushing them up to fifth in the table and the gaffer praised his side, in particular for their second-half display.
Speaking to PNE.Com, the gaffer said: “It was a good win in the end, 3-0, comfortable, clean sheet.
“If you look at the game, I thought first half, we didn’t have the urgency I would have liked us to have.
“I thought with the ball, we didn’t really pass it quick enough, because we knew that Stevenage would play a certain way, get people behind the ball, so we had to move the ball quicker and when we didn’t have the ball, we didn’t close down quick enough, so it was a little bit disappointed in that respect.
“Saying that, first half we have hit the post and crossbar, we have had a couple of great opportunities and we could have had a couple of goals at half-time.
“We certainly upped the tempo second-half with and without the ball and as the game went on, we could have won the game by any scoreline really.
“The first goal came at a nice time, as I said; I was disappointed with how we had played and we didn’t really have that zest that we needed.
“I said to the players before the game to play with their head rather than their heart at times, but we had to play with our heart a little bit more in the second half in terms of a bit more urgency about us and a bit more desire, so that worked.
“It was a great time to go and score and from a corner that we had worked on and obviously we got it for Hunts [Paul Huntington] to score so it gave us a platform.
“Once we got the second goal, you seen the confidence increase in the team and the tempo and we looked a threat whenever we went forward really.”
That second goal was scored by Scott Laird, his first since returning from a broken leg sustained in 2012 and Grayson was delighted for the wing back and for Kevin Davies, who bagged his second in as many games for PNE to wrap up the three points.
“I was delighted for Scott to score,” added Simon.
“He has had a long road to recovery, obviously he has had a few games now in the team and is finding his feet and that will do him the world of good and he deserved that goal today because of the time and effort he has put in last year to get back to where he is now.
“It was a well worked goal as well.
“The 90 minutes has benefited him today, there is still a lot more to come.
“I think Scott will be the first to say that and I certainly will, but you can’t be too critical of the players when you have won 3-0 and could have won quite easily.
“When they were throwing bodies forward, we passed it, we switched play better than we did first half and opened them up numerous times.
“It was a goal that had Kevin Davies written all over it, once he gets into them areas, he smashes things and I am delighted for him to get another goal.
“When you look at the other opportunities, other players could have had a couple more themselves.”
The manager surprised a few in the Deepdale stands with his starting eleven, the most notable change being the return of Iain Hume to the starting lineup, at the expense of Lee Holmes.
But the gaffer was quick to reiterate just how much of a squad game this campaign is going to be, with so many league and cup fixtures to navigate over the coming months.
“I just had this feeling that he might give us something,” continued Grayson when asked about Hume’s inclusion in the starting XI.
“He was buoyant that he was starting and had two great opportunities.
“He should have scored with the header early on and then he had another header that hit the post, so he will be disappointed not to score.
“Lee Holmes has done nothing wrong and we have got a squad that we can utilise and play however we want when we feel changes are needed at times.
“You have got players sat on the bench, you have got players who are not even in the squad again and we can change it around and that obviously bodes well for the future.
“The players are working for each other and pushing each other.”