A beaming Pep Clotet was full of praise for his players after Oxford United ground out a 1-0 win at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
The U’s made it three wins from three thanks to Alex Mowatt’s first goal in United colours eight minutes from the end.
The win, which included a fifth clean sheet of the season, lifted Oxford into the play-off places.
Clotet said: “It was a fantastic performance from the boys – I have to credit them massively.
“They showed a real togetherness, ground out a result and, not only did they defend very well and manage to stop Bristol playing, we managed to put a good footballing display in.”
He added: “They can play really good football but they can also play well for each other and the fans.
“They can defend results, win the ball back, play on the counter attack and deal with quality with a good style.
“We have fantastic attitude and commitment.”
But United didn’t have it all their way and they had to show plenty of defensive resolve against a very direct and robust side.
Man-mountain Rory Gaffney, who targeted the diminutive Ricardinho throughout, was the prime target for the Pirates, who were typically route one and dangerous in the air.
The striker, not known for his goalscoring prowess, had the ball in the net early on but the assistant referee had raised his flag.
Wes Thomas and Jack Payne went tantalisingly close before a soft Rovers back pass nearly presented Thomas with a golden opportunity, but the striker could only connect with the post instead of the ball.
Payne had the ball in the back of the net in the second half, only to be denied by the same assistant referee that chalked off Gaffney’s first half effort.
All the full-blooded contest needed was a goal and with time running out it came from Mowatt, who stroked home in front of the United fans and opened his account for the U’s.