Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay expressed his delight for the fans who saw their team beat Preston emphatically at Hillsborough.
Atdhe Nuhiu scored twice with substitutes Lucas Joao and Fernando Forestieri also finding the net. Substitute Louis Moult scored for the visitors.
The home fans have had little to cheer during a testing season for Wednesday.
Luhukay said: “What an atmosphere over 90 minutes and I think our fans will go back with a very positive feeling. The fans are seeing players who are fighting for each other.
“My team have a little bit more confidence after this game, I think. There are four or five players who’ve come back from long-term injuries and it gave me options.
“Preston, for me, are one of the best footballing teams. They are technically very good and play a high tempo. We had a lot of problems to control the game in the first half, but in the second half Lucas was the key to more offensive actions.
“Preston didn’t give up and came back to 2-1 and it was a very dangerous situation.
“We have a positive feeling after the win. We have only two days before Monday’s game at Sunderland and I must plan for that.”
The result lifts the Owls further away from the relegation dogfight in the Championship.
They went into this match with confidence having picked up four points from their previous two outings against Bolton and Leeds United.
Nuhiu scored both goals against Leeds, including a late winner, and his double here alongside strikes from Joao and Forestieri – playing his first game since August after a knee injury – finished off Preston.
The visitors had the first chance of the match, though, with Tom Barkhuizen firing over. The opportunity came from a good pass by Paul Gallagher, who had earlier been the victim of a challenge inside the first minute from Sam Hutchinson that earned the Owl a yellow card.
Morgan Fox was then involved at both ends of the pitch inside a short space of time, first seeing his header easily gathered by visiting goalkeeper Declan Rudd and then nicking the ball away from Callum Robinson inside the area as he shaped to shoot.
Wednesday captain Tom Lees also made a timely challenge to snuff out the threat posed by Sean Maguire before Nuhiu headed over after a free-kick caused problems for the visitors.
Preston captain Paul Huntington also headed over after meeting Gallagher’s free-kick before Fox and Hutchinson – who was able to continue after receiving treatment midway through the half – both put long-range efforts over the bar.
Luhukay made a change at half-time, taking off Hutchinson and sending on Joao in his place, and within five minutes the hosts were ahead.
Jack Hunt’s cross found Nuhiu in a central position inside the area and he controlled the ball before firing into the net.
Joao added a second goal just two minutes later, meeting Barry Bannan’s cross with a well-placed header that looped over Rudd and into the net.
Preston had a great chance to pull a goal back, but Maguire stabbed his shot towards goal and Lees was on hand to clear.
In the 70th minute Gallagher and Maguire were replaced by Daniel Johnson and Moult, and the two newcomers combined to reduce the arrears inside two minutes. Robinson’s flick found Johnson and he broke free on the left-hand side of the area before firing in a cross that was tapped home by Moult from close range.
But Preston were crushed by two Wednesday goals in stoppage-time. Nuhiu put daylight between the sides with a superb strike from just inside the area and Forestieri wrapped up the victory with his first goal of the season.