Leeds United manager Simon Grayson hailed his players performance at Preston on Tuesday after watching his side close the gap on second place in the npower Championship to just three points.
Goals from Neil Kilkenny and Billy Paynter, his first for the club, set United on the road to a 2-1 win at Deepdale, but the points were eventually secured on the back of a strong rearguard effort during the closing stages of the contest.
"We said to the players that it would be a test because they were scrapping," said Grayson. "They are a strong team.
"We knew we would have to scrap and it might be ugly, but we scored some good goals and dug a result out.
"They scored with a wonder goal - Humey can do that - but we dug in and got bodies in there, showed an ugly side and we did it really well.
"We knew Preston would put us on the back foot. They have some good players. We reacted in a real positive manner. If you get three points through battling and scrapping so be it."
Grayson had signalled his intentions with the capture of Aston Villa's highly-rated midfielder Barry Bannan on Monday, but his midfield responded to the new arrival and Kilkenny bagged his first league goal of the season before striker Paynter brought the house down with his first goal for the club.
"We have to raise the level of performance if we are to be successful and Killa scoring was delightful," said the boss.
"And we were delighted to see Billy score and you could tell from the reaction of the players - they all joined in - and the fans what it meant to all of them to see Billy score. It was a great strike.
"Everyone can see the effort he's put in. He's come on and done well in games, he's worked ever so hard, and taken his opportunity."