Simon Grayson applauded Preston North’s resilience as they secured their first Championship victory of the season at Deepdale.
A second-minute goal from Eoin Doyle gave the Lilywhites a 1-0 win last night, the three points coming at the eighth time of asking at home.
The performance was not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, with Forest the dominant side in the second half as North End dropped deep to protect their lead.
PNE boss Grayson admitted they had played better this season and not won but was thankful for the victory however it came.
Doyle struck with just one minute and 50 seconds gone, netting from close range after a Daniel Johnson shot had been saved.
That was the Irishman’s first goal for the club since arriving on loan from Cardiff and Doyle became the first Preston striker to register a league goal this term.
Grayson said: “It was result which we ground out, we have played better over the course of the season and not won matches.
“Ultimately, you have to do what is required to win a match, on this occasion it meant digging deep, putting bodies on the line, doing whatever was required.
“We got the perfect start with the goal, then you have to give a lot of credit to Nottingham Forest.
“They are a good team with some good players, yes they are down near the bottom with us but their clever players caused us a lot of problems.
“They didn’t really work our keeper too much but they still caused us enough problems to give us a really tough game.
“We knew Forest would be a threat, they were clever and got into little pockets of space which caused us problems with the 3-5-2 which we played.
“In the second half we had to change it to become a bit more reserved to make sure we won the game.
“Overall, our defensive qualities were good but our possession of the ball wasn’t quite so, we gave the ball away too cheaply which allows good teams to come at you and keep the pressure on.”
Victory moved Preston up to 16th spot in the table, a climb of two places.
They are back in action against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, a game in which they will be without the suspended John Welsh who got his fifth yellow card of the season last night.
Grayson believes that North End are steadily growing into the division, however nervy last night’s performance proved to be.
“We are the new boys in this division and sometimes there is a gulf between teams and their budgets and infrastructure,” said Grayson.
“What I have got is an honest group of players who will give everything for the shirt.
“When they have to dig deep they will do – they will run and chase. Yes, they might give the ball away but they will go again to try and win it back, I can’t fault any of them.”