Graham Westley says Preston have taken to his no-nonsense regime after Danny Mayor handed the Lilywhites boss his first win in charge.
Hartlepool dominated the first-half but failed to take their chances and North End won it after 77 minutes with their first shot on target. Mayor ran at the Pools defence and drilled a 25-yard shot into the roof of the net.
But it was the defence - featuring debutants Chris Robertson and Nicky Hunt, along with Alex Marrow making his first North End start - that earned their manager's praise.
"The performance on the whole, look at the defensive side, was scruffy," said former Stevenage boss Westley. "In patches we lacked the organisation we need, but with the number of debutants perhaps it was expected.
"But they banked another clean sheet, two in four games now, and we conceded a lot of goals before I came. We need to improve the defensive aspect and it was nice to keep a clean sheet even if we could do better.
"What Danny Mayor did was take responsibility to move forward, which is what I like to see. I like sides to be positive and go and get at things. I hope that as the players get used to the fitness programme you will see the side come stronger as the game goes on."