The Seasiders didn't need to hit top gear to come out on top at Bloomfield Road, with PNE below par and never really looking like troubling the scorers.
Their best chance fell to Ben Whiteman early in the second half but the midfield shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Critchley said: "It’s a strange day in a way, because there’s so much anticipation and emotion around the game. Sometimes you’re not sure what you’re going to get.
"In the first-half I thought we were very good, we controlled the game, played some really good football and forced them to change their shape.
"We got a bit of fortune with the first goal, I’m not sure how it went in but it did.
"In the second-half, they’ve thrown a lot of balls forward, they’ve had a few corners and long throw-ins but I thought we defended them very well.
"Obviously there’s the big miss from Ben Whiteman which came at an important stage in the game.
"We then score the second, a fantastic goal, a really good goal, and then we saw the game out fairly comfortably in the end.
"It’s a great win, it’s three points and these days are for the supporters, so they can go and enjoy their night and I’m delighted for them."
The goals came in either half, Keshi Anderson giving Blackpool a 28th minute lead with a shot which clipped off his standing leg and wrong-footed Daniel Iversen.
Gary Madine touched home a Jerry Yates cross for the second with 68 minutes played.
Critchley said: "We’re solid at the back, which is something we pride ourselves on.
"We had a really good defensive record last season, but it’s not quite been the same this season and we need to get back to that.
"But today we were because we limited them to very few chances really.
"They put a lot of balls into the box, but we defended the goal really well in numbers, bodies on the line and the goalkeeper has very little to do.
"But if Whiteman takes that chance at that stage of the game, then the game might change so that’s the fine margins of this division.
"Preston have got good players, they’re a good team and a good manager.
"There was nothing in-between the teams at that stage of the game, but I felt we were the better team in the first-half.”
"Prior to the Whiteman chance, we had a little breakaway and Keshi (Anderson) goes to ground. At first I thought it might have been a penalty because he gets Keshi first and then the ball. But it was probably the right decision.
"It’s our corner and we should put the ball back in the box, but we try to play it short so of course we’ve committed a lot of men forward and it gives them the chance to counter-attack and break.
"To be honest, when you put Ben Whiteman with his quality in front of goal you expect him to score, so it was a big miss and an important moment within the game."
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