‘Big win’ delights PNE boss

Alex Baptiste celebrates with Greg Cunningham and Daniel Johnson after scoring PNE's winner
Alex Baptiste celebrates with Greg Cunningham and Daniel Johnson after scoring PNE's winner
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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson was ‘thrilled to bits’ with his side’s victory over Norwich City.

The Lilywhites moved up to ninth in the Championship table after the 1-0 win at Carrow Road, Alex Baptiste heading the contest’s only goal in the 75th minute.

Simon Grayson applauds the PNE supporters at the final whistle at Norwich

Simon Grayson applauds the PNE supporters at the final whistle at Norwich

Grayson’s men are now unbeaten in seven matches since the 5-0 drubbing at Brentford on September 17, and this week have taken seven points from three clubs in the top four.

“I am thrilled to bits with the players,” said a delighted Grayson.

“We came here against a very strong team – a fantastic football club – and the team did their job.

“We went with the same team which had played on Wednesday night against Huddersfield but with a slightly different system.

“Our approach was to keep our shape, defend well and go and play when we had the chance.

“In the first half we had some good chances, better than Norwich did.

“We nullified quite a few of their opportunities and you have to do that.

“It was a fantastic effort from everyone, Norwich had an extra day’s recovery than us.

“We showed good fitness and concentration levels to see the game out.

“On Wednesday night we had played 4-4-2 but we felt today we had to play Ben Pearson deeper so he could be around Wes Hoolahan, knowing what Hoolahan is capable of doing.

“That made us more solid with the one up front but we were still a threat going forward with Jordan Hugill having some good opportunities.

“As the game went on, it opened up more and we might have had a couple more goals.

“Towards the end it was vital that we kept our concentration to stop Norwich playing, we did that and stuck to the task.

“It was a fantastic result for our travelling supporters who have had a good week.”

Baptiste, on a seaon-long loan from Middlesbrough, netted his second goal in four days after scoring against Huddersfield.

He rose to head home after Daniel Johnson had sent a pin-point free-kick into the middle from the right channel.

Grayson said: “It was a great delivery from DJ and we had someone in Baps who wants to attack the ball – it was great to see it hit the back of the net.

“I think this win has to be up there as one of the best this season, given the level of players we were playing against.

“We played Aston Villa three weeks ago but that was at home against a side struggling for a bit of confidence.

“Here we were playing against a team in the top two before the game, so it is a big result for us.”