West Brom boss Slaven Bilic spoke of turning what Preston do better than anybody else against them as his side took one step closer to promotion to the Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 victory at the Hawthorns.
The Baggies went winless in the league for six straight games either side of the new year, cutting their once mighty lead atop the table down to just a few points.
That poor run of form has been banished to the history books, however, with West Brom securing the three points in five of their last six Championsship encounters to establish a significant ten-point gap ahead of the play-off places.
Their latest victory came on Tuesday night at the expense of fellow promotion hopefuls Preston, with first-half goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and captain Jake Livermore enough to sink the men from Deepdale.
Speaking after the conclusion of the match, Croatian Bilic revealed how his side were able to outdo their opponents in one facet of the game he considers them to be the best in the division at.
“It was a very mature performance,” said Bilic. “We looked in control and on the front foot.
“People are talking about routine but we made it like that.
“We were playing against a team that normally has great intensity and maybe the best in the division in transition.
“We did to them what they were going to do to us – the intensity, pressing, second balls – all of that gave us a platform to catch them in transition.”
Bilic was delighted with the quality of the pass from West Brom frontman Callum Robinson for the first goal scored by Robson-Kanu.
“The ball was unbelievable – and he meant it,” he said. “The quality and the distance – it was like ‘wow’. And when you score a goal like that it gives you confidence.”
Preston right-back Darnell Fisher saw red for a lunge on Robinson in the 64th minute with the decision seen as harsh by both managers.
Preston manager Alex Neil said: “At the time I wasn’t quite sure, having seen it back I think it’s a soft one.
“The fourth official said it was for the follow through with his left leg but watching it back his left leg doesn’t follow through at all.
“It was harsh but it continued a theme of the officials all game.
“I didn’t think we played particularly poorly,” he added. “The biggest difference was their front four, who threatened all game.
“The biggest disappointment for me was probably the cheapness of the goals.
“For their first goal we gave the ball away on the halfway line and for the second we gave it away on the edge of our own box.”