David Artell praised teenage loanees J’Neil Bennett and Scott Robertson after they helped to power Crewe to their first Sky Bet League One win of the season.
The pair, both 19, made their mark on their home debuts as the Railwaymen put a difficult start to the campaign behind them.
A revamped side saw off Burton, who played the last half an hour of the game with 10 men after Charlie Lakin’s dismissal.
Bennett was involved in both goals, doing the leg work for Crewe’s 10th-minute opener with a darting run and pullback, which flew off Michael Bostwick past keeper Ben Garratt. The youngster then broke away and cut infield to fire in his side’s second with three minutes remaining.
Robertson, on loan from Celtic, showed some impressive guile and combativeness in the middle of the park, frequently forcing fouls from an ill-disciplined Burton outfit, for whom a first-half spate of yellow cards counted against them in the second period.
While defender Bostwick was credited with an own goal for the first, Alex boss Artell said: “In my book J’Neil has got two goals today. He is a very good player who we had up at the club over the summer and we should have done it (the loan) earlier.
“We’d seen him up close and personal and we made the wrong decision to wait to see if could get better.
“But from what we’ve seen today and at Shrewsbury last week we probably wouldn’t have got better and we’re delighted that he is here.
“I thought Scott Robertson was the best player on the pitch. He’s reliable in possession, he is tenacious in defence and he can pick a pass.
“I’m not sure what the new Celtic manager is looking for but he’s got a gem there. He’s certainly a good player for us and we’re delighted to have him here for the season.”
After their early setback Burton finished the first half strongly and Crewe were glad to see Rio Adebisi’s last-ditch block keep out a rebound effort from Harry Chapman.
Burton frontman Kane Hemmings was thwarted by Will Jaaskelainen in the second half but the frontman should have done better with his close-range header.
Lakin’s 67th-minute dismissal eased Crewe’s passage, with the midfielder paying the price for a first-half booking when he sent Scott Kashket flying.
Burton boss Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink felt Lakin’s first card was harsh, but admitted: “It was one of those days when we didn’t do the things we needed to do. We were always rushed and lost the ball in silly areas.
“We’ve had a bit of success this season, but teams are going to look at us differently and we have to do the right things. We didn’t play as a team and we didn’t stretch Crewe.
“For the first one (Lakin’s cards) it was early in the game and he could have been spoken to. That’s what the referee did with Crewe. I didn’t see the second yellow card, but the first was disappointing – I didn’t think the referee was very good today.”