Darren Moore praised his Sheffield Wednesday team for staying calm and patient during a vital 1-0 home win over already-relegated Crewe.
Owls trio Saido Berahino, Lee Gregory and Callum Paterson all missed easy chances on a night that looked like it might end in frustration for the hosts.
But Gregory’s 54th-minute penalty eventually settled matters to move Wednesday up to fourth in the table and still harbouring outside hopes of automatic promotion with three games left to play.
A pleased Moore said: “We missed some excellent chances and three of them were inside the six-yard box, but, as long as we are creating opportunities and we stay calm and patient, I’m always certain that we’ll score one eventually, even if it did come from the penalty spot in the end.
“I’m really pleased with the clean sheet and to keep our home form going.
“It gives us confidence and momentum after another win from a tough game because anybody who came here that thought Crewe were relegated and were just going to lie down for us soon realised that wasn’t going to be the case.
“They were very competitive in the middle of the pitch and we had to be careful from their counter-attacks.
“Even though the shot count was 17 to one in our favour and nobody could have argued we didn’t deserve to win, we had to put people in the right places to make sure they didn’t break on us which they were trying to do at times. We nullified that threat.”
Crewe interim manager Alex Morris was happy with the manner in which his players adapted to an early tactical switch and also cited the display as a benchmark for when the club set about trying to bounce back from relegation at the first attempt next term.
He said: “The first 15 minutes we were on the receiving end of a bit of a whirlwind. They were throwing everything at us and we had a lot of luck with balls not quite dropping for them in the box and them missing some gilt-edged chances.
“We had to make changes quite quickly and switched to three at the back to match up their wing-backs and narrow things off a bit in the middle of the pitch. We got a bit of control in there then and didn’t allow them to get in our box as much.
“Everybody also put their bodies on the line and we made it difficult for a team going for promotion before they got their penalty in an unbelievable environment to play in.
“Footballers need motivation and ambition and the performance in this game should provide a benchmark for next season in terms of trying to get back to playing at places like this.”
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