The manner of Norwich City’s 1-0 win over Preston North End made it even better for Shane Duffy.

The experienced centre-back played a key role in a vital clean sheet for the Canaries, their second in a week as they took their play-off cushion to six points.

An elated Duffy praised his team’s performance post-match, highlighting the role of grit and determination in an important victory.

“It was a tough game,” he said. “But I just did my defending and got a clean sheet, that’s the most important thing.

“It’s huge, especially at this time of year. It wasn’t pretty, although we actually played some good football at times.

“This is a difficult place to come, and obviously our away record this year has not been where we wanted it to be, so three points and a clean sheet, we’ll take it. Defenders love an away clean sheet win!

“I think we’ve  been unlucky at times, and there have been times where we’ve been absolutely nowhere near good enough away from home.

“It’s a mystery, but the most important thing is that we got it at the right time.”

The game appeared to be petering out for what would have been an acceptable draw when Gabriel Sara’s fine strike sealed the victory late on, the latest in a series of impressive moments that have defined the Brazilian’s season.

He’s not the only attacking player to earn plaudits in yellow and green this term, and Duffy always knows there’s a good chance his defensive work will be capitalised on.

“I was delighted,” he continued, discussing the only goal of the contest. “I couldn’t see one coming, and then Kenny plays a great pass and Gabby takes it really well. He’s been outstanding, what a player he is. That’s what we’ve got going forward. 

“We try to keep it tight at the back and let those attacking players do their stuff, we give them a base.

“We stayed in the game, even when they had five up front that in the last 10 or 15 minutes. They’re probably top end of this league.

“So if we’re defensively and structurally good and keeping in it, we know we can win games.”