Ryan Lowe praised the resilience of his players to hold on to their advantage and withstand heavy pressure in the latter stages of the 2-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle.
Preston North End got off to a blistering start as Duane Holmes scored inside the opening minute at Deepdale and Liam Millar then netted on his debut to double his new side’s lead.
Argyle then came out in the second half and threw everything they had at North End, with Ryan Hardie getting one goal back for his side, and they kept pushing until the end but PNE held on to a fifth successive victory to go back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Ryan said: “Fair play to the group. I’ve just said to them in there there’s no coaching manuals or anything for that type of performance, especially the last 30 minutes where we rode our luck a few times.
“But we were solid and resolute and kept the back door shut by defending, Fred (Freddie Woodman) catching the ball and making some good saves.
“They’re a good team are Plymouth Argyle; we know that. They’re well coached and well-taught, but we found it tough at times.
“The resilience of the group and the lads got us the three points. We scored two good goals early in the first half and probably could have had more, but so could they.
“I’m just pleased the lads have kept going. It’s a hard-fought win, a hard-fought result, and it’s one we’re pleased about.”
Returning to action after the international break, there may have been concerns over whether North End’s momentum from winning four games on the bounce would carry over, but they put those worries to bed just 37 seconds in.
Holmes headed home after good work from debutant Millar to open the scoring for his side, and the manager admitted a fast start was part of his message to the group prior to kick-off.
Ryan added: “I said to them before we went out that I was watching Southampton against Leicester last night and they scored after 20-odd seconds and I thought, ‘We can do that,’ because we’ve got that ability of getting the ball forward quickly and whatnot.
“Then to score so early on with a great ball out from Pottsy (Brad Potts) – a 40-yard zinger out to Liam Millar and then for him to pick Duane out to get his head on it was fantastic.
“We saw them last night score after 20-odd seconds and then we go and score after 37 so to get an early goal against a good team is obviously pleasing and then to get the second one [was great].
“Then the second half is hard because they come out and make changes and throw the kitchen sink at it which they did, but fair play to our lads because we withstood it and managed to get three points.”