Preston North End’s away-day demolition of Stevenage left no doubt in Graham Westley’s mind as to how highly on the scale he should rate it.
The North End boss described the 4-1 victory at Broadhall Way as ‘unquestionably our best performance of the season’.
Goals from Stuart Beavon, Jack King, Jeffrey Monakana and Nicky Wroe – combined with a powerful team effort – delivered the three points.
It meant a triumphant return to Stevenage for Westley, although he insisted he took no added pleasure in putting one over on his former employers.
Front pair Beavon and King struck in the first half, either side of a Greg Tansey equaliser for the hosts.
North End then really kicked-on after the interval, Monakana and Wroe adding to the lead, Wroe capping-off a fine move with an equally fine finish.
Westley said: “The players are improving in terms of their trust and understanding of each other.
“They are trusting and understanding the game they are being asked to play, and as the side grows in confidence we’ll see improved performances.
“That was unquestionably our best performance of the season. We have had better results, but I saw a lot of good things out there.
“I thought we looked a real dominant force and controlled long parts of the game.
“It was a deserved victory because we owned the football for lengthy periods.
“When we had the ball we were purposeful and were always trying to score goals.
“A lot of teams play football and keep the ball for the sake of it.
“Our game is about going out to score goals and we could have scored more than we did on Saturday.
“We’re disappointed to have conceded a goal, but nevertheless it was a decent result.”
It might be said that Westley tapped into some inside knowledge when it came to putting together a tactical plan to beat Stevenage.
But only two of the home side’s starting XI played under him during his time managing Stevenage.
Said Westley: “It was never going to be an easy game because Stevenage are flying high.
“We got ourselves ready to win three points and the players executed the plan very well.
“Over the 90 minutes we looked strong and physically we were on top of the game.
“Some of the football we played was first class, the clinical finishing at the end of our play was everything I wanted it to be.
“You can see that we are progressing, going in the right direction and improving as a team.
“We went to Stevenage to dominate the game, play the better football and dominate possession – I think we did all of those things.”
One post-match worry was an injury suffered by Monakana, the 19-year-old stretchered from the field in the 80th minute.
But the early indications are that it was just a bad knock he took to his ankle rather than anything too serious.
“Jeffrey was very sore afterwards and we’ll have to see how it settles down,” said Westley.
“It’s probably not as bad as we first thought it might be.
“He’s a young lad who is learning his body, and as he learns, he will be able to differentiate between a serious and less serious knock.”