Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell praised his side for overcoming the physical and mental test of falling behind so early on during the battling 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers.
Having conceded twice late on in the 2-2 Boxing Day draw at Rotherham United, Town got off to the worst possible start as Darren Pratley thundered home inside the first minute after being left unmarked from a free-kick.
But Powell was delighted with the way his side applied themselves thereafter to hit back and seal a comeback win courtesy of goals from Jacob Butterfield and substitute Nahki Wells.
“After the kick in the teeth that we didn’t see coming at Rotherham and then the first minute today, this was a real physical and mental test,” he said.
“Every time you have a knock-back you have to overcome it – and I thought the players did. They took the game by the scruff of the neck when they had to get themselves going.
“Our response and reaction to conceding the opener was first class and we deservedly got the equaliser.
“Until then it looked like things weren’t happening for us, but we were getting in the final third, balls into the box and working their ‘keeper.
“Eventually Jacob Butterfield came up with a sublime finish, which I thought we deserved.
“You name 18 players and it’s a 14 man game; subs always make a difference. Today Nahki came on and does what he does best; he took his goal really well.
“I’m sure every fan was wondering if we would then hold out after what happened 48 hours ago. At times we did our best not to, but in the end we deservedly got three points.
“I have to say that physically the players looked strong and fit, given that we only played two days ago.”
Town fans were unhappy pre-match at the decision to revert to one striker at home, with James Vaughan starting up front as the main attacking spearhead as Grant Holt missed out on a final farewell to the John Smith's Stadium crowd after returning to parent club Wigan Athletic having sustained a knee injury.
But the Terriers boss insisted he was determined to nullify the strengths of Bolton's setup, with the adaptability of Harry Bunn helping Town to switch from one up top to two as the match progressed.
“I know people will always want to play with two strikers at home, but we have to be flexible,” he revealed.
“I always look at what’s best for us and how much work we can get out of the players. I’m trying to get as many good players on the pitch in positions they are comfortable in, because then we’ll get a performance out of them.
“It would have been quite easy to start both Nahki and James Vaughan today, but they’re quite similar in what they want to do – although Vaughany is a bit more robust!
“I had one eye on what Bolton do. They play a diamond system and if you empty that area they can cut through you, so I had Harry in there.
“Their time will come, but we’ll have to work with them to make sure they play as a pair.
“Credit to Vaughany – I never envisaged he would start both games in the 48 hours.”