Preston North End boss Alex Neil admitted his side's performance in the derby win against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park was not 'vintage' but it got the job done.
A fifth away win on the bounce was delivered by Daniel Johnson's early goal, the midfielder driving home a cross from Lukas Nmecha.
Neil said: "Last week against Bristol City we had tried to win the match but it was crucial we didn't lose it - had we lost it they would extended their lead over us.
"Today we spoke about the need to win it because we have some hard fixtures between now and the end of the season and to keep the dream alive we needed to come here and win the game.
"I thought we started really well, from about the fifth minute to the 20th minute we played on top of them.
"The one quality move that we made, we got the goal from.
"After that we sat a little bit deeper, absorbed some pressure and hit Blackburn on the counter.
"It was always going to be a tough match for us.
"We had worked in the week on Blackburn playing 3-4-3 because I thought they might play that way.
"Although Blackburn had a lot of the ball and a lot of pressure, they didn't have a lot of clear-cut chances.
"In the second half, Declan Rudd only really had to make one save when the ball came off Ryan Ledson's foot.
"It wasn't vintage Preston shall we say but the three points are the most important thing right now."
Neil applauded Johnson's goal, that the midfielder's seventh goal of the season and his second in a week.
"You have to give credit to the move for the goal," said Neil.
"It started with the keeper, fed into Ryan Ledson, Paul Gallagher played a lovely ball around the corner and we got Lukas Nmecha isolated which was something we had spoken about.
"He showed all the power and pace to drift past the centre-back and cut it back to DJ.
"The one thing we know with DJ is the quality he has on his left foot, so it was a really great goal."