Lee Johnson said Preston were better than their Championship league position after seeing his Bristol City side beaten 1-0 on Saturday.
Callum Robinson’s first-half goal was enough to continue the Lilywhites’ remarkable record against the Robins, North End now unbeaten in 11 with five straight wins at Ashton Gate.
The three points in the final game before the international break moved Alex Neil’s side up to 18th in the table.
“Credit to Preston,” said Johnson.
“They were dogged and they’ve got a midfield that’s got speed and bite and agility.
“They’re a good side and I think their league position’s false. They’ve had two or three injuries to key players.
“Their XI plus their three subs is a good side so make no mistake, we know they’re a good side. But we were a good side.
“We had a good XI out on the pitch and I have to take responsibility for the defeat.”