Brian Barry-Murphy praised his ‘amazing’ Rochdale side for pulling off a surprise 1-0 win at Rotherham.
Dale endured a horror week in the build-up and arrived at the New York Stadium with nine regular first-team players out.
But their team, which included a raft of teenagers and academy graduates, claimed the 1-0 win thanks to Aaron Morley’s first-half stunner.
Manager Barry-Murphy said: “It was testament for the players that they have come through a difficult week and a tough run of results to produce a performance befitting of such a tough ground.
“We ran out deserving winners in the end with a performance full of courage and personality.
“I was desperate for them to get the result that their work-rate deserves. We have had loads of adversity again over the last three or four weeks with our injury list.
“We were at the point yesterday of not having enough players to fill our bench. That is difficult for our squad but the guys were amazing.”
Barry-Murphy also praised the winning goal which saw teenagers Luke Matheson and Morley combine, with the latter curling an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box beyond Daniel Iversen.
He said: “It was an amazing move and our players have produced those moves over and over again this season. It’s not by chance, it’s by continuous practice and repetition.
“We found a way to defend in the second half when we had to and still provided a punch on the counter-attack.”
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne felt frustrated his side could not find a route to goal.
He said: “They had that little bit of magic that we failed to find.
“I made changes, I thought it might have had a positive effect. I could come out with loads of reasons as to why I think we didn’t win the game but fundamentally they bent one in from 20 yards and we didn’t.
“Sometimes your subs work and sometimes they don’t but we were desperately trying to get a goal. Had we got the first goal then the game might have taken a different path.
“We asked the lads to be positive and make them defend.
“They got a brilliant goal. Unfortunately we did not have anyone who could have done the same bit of magic.
“We just didn’t have enough quality in the final third and it just didn’t drop to us.
“It was a good opportunity to stabilise ourselves in the top six. It feels like another setback.
“Our performance wasn’t a bad one. But for whatever reason if we don’t score first at home it adds to the pressure.”