Barnsley manager Mark Robins watched his side destroy Preston 4-1 and declared: "We would have beaten anyone."
Goals from Anderson De Silva, Andy Gray, Jay Rodriguez and an own goal from Preston's Michael Hart sealed a memorable win for the Tykes. Danny Welbeck's 27th minute strike marked the only goal for the Northenders.
Robins, whose side leapfrogged Preston, beamed: "I think we could have played anybody in the league and won. I thought we were outstanding from start to finish but we have been threatening it."
He added: "Since the turn of of the year, the results haven't been what we liked but we have reset the bar with that performance."
Meanwhile, Kevin Blackwell admitted his Sheffield United side's wretched defending was behind all three goals in their 3-0 defeat by Watford - but felt his new-look back four was the main reason for the loss.
Blackwell saw Spurs right-back Kyle Walker recalled from his loan at the last minute on deadline day, while Fulham left-back Toni Kallio was not registered in time to feature. Captain Chris Morgan also limped off with an injury to leave Blackwell with concerns for the rest of the season.
"I was a bit surprised myself by that performance but we had mitigating circumstances," Blackwell said. "We had a back four lined up of Kyle Walker, Nyron Nosworthy, Chris Morgan and Toni Kallio, which looked as good as anything out there and I've ended up with nothing like that on the pitch at the end of the game."
He added: "I've got players coming back from injury who are being asked to do a job and they are not ready. That was evident from that performance.
"Nyron has done no work with us and the back four was disjointed from the start. Watford have not had to work for their goals, they were all gimmes and that is unfortunate. To make it worse it looks like Morgan has broken a rib and he is the last player we need to be losing now."
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