MK Dons manager Russell Martin hailed his players for growing together as a group as they climbed out of the Sky Bet League One relegation zone with a thumping 3-0 win over Bristol Rovers.
Rhys Healey’s third goal in as many games had MK on their way, before Sam Nombe added a second on the hour and former Bristol City striker Kieran Agard sealed the three points late on.
And having seen his team extend their unbeaten run to three games, Martin insisted the club’s climb up the league is well deserved.
He said: “Of course it’s a big boost to be out of the bottom three and it’s now up to us to continue looking upwards instead of over our shoulders.
“The boys were excellent and I am really proud of them because we have come through a tough period physically with so many games in a short period of time.
“For them to perform like that given the league position that we are in is phenomenal. I’m really pleased for them.
“We have finally got a clean sheet too, which makes me really happy, and to a man they have all been outstanding. I feel that they’re learning all the time.”
Defeat for Rovers boss Ben Garner leaves him winless in all three of his games since joining the Pirates, and he admitted his side’s level of performance did not match his expectations.
Rovers should have taken the lead inside 13 minutes, when Luke Leahy’s first-time strike was well saved by home goalkeeper Lee Nicholls, but the hosts were otherwise largely in control.
And having assumed charge at the Memorial Stadium during the hectic festive period, the 39-year-old believes he needs time to fully implement his ideas at the club.
Garner said: “Everyone is frustrated in the dressing room after such a disappointing performance and a poor result.
“We had words at half-time because I wasn’t happy with the level of performance – we were nowhere near the standards we expect at this football club.
“We were better in the second half, but of course I’m disappointed overall. There is a lot that needs to be improved and changes need to be made.
“I need time on the grass to work with the players to implement my ideas. It has been a frustrating period for me because I have not been able to spend that time with them.
“Once I can get my ideas across the performances will change and we will see the different elements of our game.
“We need to improve the depth and quality of our squad and we’re looking forward to getting some more players in so I can take this club where we want it to go.”