Simon Grayson felt Preston North End were worthy winners as they saw off promotion rivals MK Dons at stadium:mk.
Callum Robinson fired the Lilywhites into a 65th minute lead, before Joe Garner headed the second five minutes later - although both Paul Huntington and Robinson claimed they got the last touch.
The win, North End’s sixth in the last seven games, kept them in second place in League One.
PNE boss Grayson said: “It was a big result. People played the game up in terms of where both teams are in the league - we knew the significance of it.
“We came out with a real professional performance from start to finish, we executed the game really plan well.
“You know when you go to MK Dons you have to get your tactics right - when to press and when not to press.
“We pressed in the right areas, won the ball back and that contributed to the two goals.
“Every man that went out there worked extremely hard for the shirt, defended with their lives and we played some good stuff at times.
“We mixed it, we went long, we went short, and over the course of the game we were worthy winners.”
Robinson’s goal was a low finish into the far corner, Bailey Wright winning a tackle which allowed Garner to slide the ball across for Robinson to score.
Both Garner and Huntington went up to meet a Paul Gallagher corner for the second goal, both laying a claim to it.
Grayson said: “It was great for Callum to score, that was down to Bailey Wright going all the way in on Devante Cole.
“The second goal was the icing on the cake.
“There are three lads wanting the goal, Huntington and Garner have started it off and Robinson says he got a touch in and round the goalkeeper.
“I’m not bothered who scored it, I’m not going to adjudicate, they can argue all day long.
“What I’m bothered about is a clean sheet, two goals and another three points.”