Simon Grayson felt Fleetwood were much improved in every department as his side thumped Crewe 3-0.
Callum Johnson finally broke the deadlock after an hour with a header at a set-piece and, after Danny Andrew – who could have been sent off for his part in an ugly melee – crashed in a free-kick, Ged Garner’s tap-in completed the scoring in stoppage time.
And the Cod Army boss said his injury-hit team were better defensively and in attack, and thoroughly deserved their win.
“We’d stressed to the players that results had been good but we had to make sure we were better defensively,” said Grayson.
“Instead of being a yard away from someone we had to get tighter otherwise we could get punished, so the emphasis was on making sure we were hard to play against, because we know we have goals in the team.
“Today we got the right balance, kept a clean sheet and got three goals so overall I’m really pleased.
“We hit the post, we had a couple of other opportunities and they didn’t create too much. Callum (Johnson) got in and scored his first goal for the club and it gave us big belief that we could go on from there.
“Danny Andrew was possibly a bit lucky to still be on the pitch, we’ve spoken to him about his reaction to the tackle. It’s a buoyant dressing room and I’ve had to put a dampener on it, because we could potentially have been down to 10 men.
“Fortunately, he wasn’t sent off but on another day a referee might have made a different decision. It’s something he has to learn from, but it was a fantastic free-kick.”
For Crewe it had been a miserable afternoon, and manager David Artell was still fuming long after the full-time whistle.
“If there’s one lesson for us to go away from today with it’s how we reacted to going a goal down,” he said following a lengthy inquest in the dressing room.
“I thought there was very little in the game before that first goal.
“I don’t know how we conceded the first goal, the second goal wasn’t a free-kick and their lad shouldn’t have been on the pitch, and I’m also disappointed about us conceding from two set-pieces.
“It’s not really about the third goal, it’s about us not passing the ball, about us playing as individuals, and us starting to whack it. I felt some of our lads reacted really poorly.
“One goal shouldn’t be a knockout blow. The lad who should have been marking him was marking the wrong player – that can’t happen. But then it all spiralled from there and that’s disappointing.
“We got caught up in the emotion of the game and let in goals. There was some injustice there, it wasn’t even a foul for the free-kick for their second goal. But we have to be honest and you can’t let it affect you in the way we were affected.”