Preston boss Alex Neil accepted his side’s performance in their 1-0 win at Blackburn was not “vintage” but said getting three points was the priority.
The Lilywhites secured victory at Ewood Park through an emphatic finish from Daniel Johnson in the eighth minute, his seventh goal of the season.
Johnson’s strike was ultimately enough and Neil’s men were able to survive the sending off of right-back Darnell Fisher in stoppage time after he picked up a second booking for hauling down Amari’i Bell.
It was by no means a classic display from North End but it keeps them well in the Championship play-off hunt, as well as stretching their unbeaten run to 10 games.
Preston have also now won five successive away matches at this level for the first time since the 1950s, and completed their first double over Blackburn since 1979.
Neil said: “We spoke about how we needed to win. There are hard fixtures between now and the end of the season and to keep the dream alive, we needed to come here and win the game.
“I thought we started really well. From five minutes to 20, we came into the game, played on top of them.
“The one real quality move we made, we scored the goal, which was excellent.
“After that, we sat a little deeper, absorbed pressure and hit Blackburn on the counter. It was always going to be a tough match.
“Although they had a lot of the ball and pressure, I don’t think they had a lot of clear-cut chances.
“It wasn’t vintage Preston shall we say, but the three points are the most important thing for us.
“I think the goal changed the game, in the fact we knew we needed to win. If it was 0-0, we wouldn’t have sat in the way we did. The way the game panned out allowed us to play in that manner.”
Blackburn have now lost six of their last seven games to slump down the Championship standings.
Manager Tony Mowbray felt his team did not lack for commitment, but ultimately the quality did.
He said: “I think the attributes of this team are there on show every week. I think the performance is what we’ve had all season. At this moment, we’re not able to turn them into goals and victories.
“Performance-wise, effort, honesty and commitment were all there today. The bit that makes the difference – bit of quality around the edge of the box, the final pass, contact on a finish, obviously wasn’t there. ”
Rovers still have daylight between themselves and the relegation zone though, and Mowbray is confident results will turn back in their favour if they continue working as they have been doing.
“Ultimately, I can’t be too harsh on them today,” he added.
“It’s football, we have to stick together and keep going. If I saw a drop-off on desire and determination to get results, I’d be more concerned. We find that same level every week and we’ll win games.
“It’s the same effort (as all season) and generally we were coming away with victories. I don’t see a drop-off but we’ve hit a patch where we can’t win a game.
“What’s the answer? Keep working hard, and it’ll turn.”