Brown - Practice makes perfect
North End ready to battle against the drop
Last Updated: April 2, 2011 7:27pm
Brown: Master tactician
Phil Brown was delighted after Preston extended their winning streak to three with a victory over high-flying Swansea.
The win leaves them eight points adrift of safety but they are clearly showing signs of recovery as they bid to beat the Championship drop.
While most managers would not have welcomed the international break, Brown felt that this latest one allowed him to spend some much-needed time on the training ground.
"We only had four internationals away so we had a good amount of time on the training pitch working on tactics," he said.
However, Preston had to adapt their cautious approach when they were awarded a penalty, which Iain Hume converted in the third minute.
"It was going to be a patient game plan today but an early goal changed that and the keeper could have gone off as well," added Brown.
The Preston boss was happy with the three points, but he was especially pleased with the manner in which his side applied themselves against a team in contention for promotion.
"The beauty of the victory today was against one of the best football teams I've played against in the Championship," he said.
"It was a fantastic game of football today matched with the desire, work rate and commitment of our team."
The manager was full of praise for Hume, whose second goal proved the eventual winner.
"The winner was absolutely brilliant. How Hume had the energy to get round and finish today was beyond me.
"They say the bad balls get the wickets in cricket and Hume didn't catch the finish cleanly - if he did the keeper would have probably saved it. But no one was more deserving of that than Hume."
Preston face Reading on Tuesday, which is sure to be a tough fixture after the Royals moved into the Championship play-off positions.
But Brown is not being drawn into speculating on his side's prospects of avoiding the drop.
"I'm still refusing to look at league tables but we have a four team league table we have to finish on top of and if we do that we will stay in the Championship."
Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers felt his side were architects of their own downfall and deserved to lose on the basis of a poor defensive effort, as for the third straight game the Swans let in two goals.
He said: "The disappointing factor was our performance. Normally my players have been magnificent in defence and with the ball but today was one of those off days and in this league any team can punish you.
"We didn't deserve anything from the game - we were poor defensively," added Rodgers, though he was pleased at how his side responded to their early setback.
"We made a terrible start but I thought the reaction from the players was excellent. But defensively we weren't good enough, if you want to be successful you can't defend like that.
"There's no arguments with the penalty but we reacted well from it."
But Rodgers, whose side's expansive football has won plaudits this season, was not happy with the state of the Deepdale surface.
"The pitch was very difficult - it didn't look like that for the (England) Under-21 match," he said.
"We have seen it over the years - you get a football team coming to a ground and it's your prerogative being the home team. But I'm surprised at this level that you walk out on to the pitch and it isn't even cut."
The former Reading manager was keen to put the defeat behind him ahead of Norwich's visit next week.
"We can't dwell on it, there is not enough time. Every win gets you closer to your dream and every loss can kill your chances. We can't afford many more losses."