Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke is delighted with the way his players are warming to the task after making it three successive victories with a 3-1 win at Crawley.
Former Bristol Rovers and Walsall boss Clarke had to wait eight games before getting his first win having taken charge on February 15.
Crawley striker Ashley Nadesan scored on the stroke of half-time to cancel out an early goal from skipper Tom Conlon, and Clarke praised his men for the way they responded.
Further goals from Nathan Smith and David Worrall saw Vale run out comfortable winners and Clarke said: “At half-time I said don’t be mentally weak.
“I’m really pleased with the three points after being sucker-punched at half-time.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the players; they’ve given me absolutely everything since I’ve come in.”
Vale’s winning run has taken them nine points above the bottom two, and Clarke added: “We are getting fitness levels up a bit and we are starting to show quality as well.”
Crawley are still six points away from a play-off position but head coach John Yems was critical of his side and admitted: “At the moment we are getting out-muscled. We got bashed-up and Port Vale wanted it more than us.
“I said from day one that if we survive as a club with Covid and everything else it would be a good year. But some people still believe we should be winning the European Cup.”
Yems believes there is nothing wrong with being mid-table “with a few teams below you.”.
He added: “The team have done fantastic all season. We’ve had two bad results, but we’ve had some good victories and we must build on it.
“We have a go in every game but you will be where you deserve to be at the end of the season. We have got to get the consistency.
“If you get beat 3-1 you can’t be happy but we got beat fairly and squarely. Port Vale out-fought us and thoroughly deserved their victory.”