Graham Westley praised the work ethic of his Preston North End side as they ended an eight-game winless league run by beating Hartlepool yesterday.
John Mousinho’s goal in first-half injury time gave them the New Year’s Day 1-0 victory at Victoria Park, lifting the gloom of Saturday’s heavy home defeat to Doncaster.
It was his first goal for North End, the skipper heading home a Stuart Beavon corner at the far post.
The visitors defended their advantage solidly in the second half, securing their first League One victory since winning at Stevenage on November 10.
Before Mousinho’s goal, Nicky Wroe saw a penalty saved – it was the first awarded PNE’s way in more than nine months.
Westley said: “We knew we needed to bounce back after a disappointing result at the weekend.
“Hartlepool were buoyed by their win at Sheffield United on Saturday and were never going to be an easy opposition.
“They were going to work hard and take the confidence from the weekend into the game, so we knew we had to knuckle down and work at our own game.
“We scored a set-piece, got a penalty and missed it – I think there were a lot of shock waves going through our club and certainly through our dugout!
“In the second half ,we were very organised, hard-working and difficult to break down.
“We were everything that we needed to be when we’re in the position and run we’re in.
“We hadn’t won a league game for some time and confidence wasn’t there.
“I thought the boys did a good backs-to-the-wall job with some good counter-attacking thrown in.
“It’s pleasing to have won three points.”
North End created more chances to have added to the scoreline, but Westley was happy to settle for the one goal.
The PNE boss said: “There could have been more goals, although we have all seen runs like we’ve been on come to an end with that type of performance.
“Sides get themselves together, show a lot of character but don’t particularly play with the confidence you get from winning.
“Our finishing wasn’t clinical because there was nervousness in our play.
“It could have been better but everyone in dressing room is delighted to have put in a winning display.
“Three points are always valuable,” said Westley (pictured below).
“When you’ve been in a tough run of results and had a lot of big players out, it is a real positive to get the winning vibe in there.
“We needed those points –everyone knows that.
“Obviously the clean sheet pleased me and was important to what we did.
“I have always placed a lot of value on defensive organsation – after all, it is easier to keep clean sheets than score a hat-full of goals.
“In tough conditions you have to rely on your work ethic and organisation.
“The conditions were difficult, it was blustery, the surface was uneven and we needed resilience to see it through.
“The back four showed great organisational skills and the boys in front of them worked very hard.”
North End lost Bailey Wright to concussion in the first half, the young defender having clashed heads.