Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett has hailed the character of his side after they secured a battling draw at Portsmouth.
Pools put in an inspired defensive performance as they frustrated Paul Cook's men at Fratton Park, ensuring that they traveled back up from the south coast with a share of the spoils.
And Hignett, who watched the game from the stands, believes the Pools players answered some of their critics with a resolute performance.
He said: "It was massive, I aid it wasn’t about shape or formation or do this, do that – it was about desire and bottle.
"We had to show it, we were pegged back and had to defend cross and balls. Trev (Carson) was outstanding.
"And you need performances like that when you play against the top teams.
"We managed the game really well and as disappointed as I was in the last couple of weeks I was really proud of them today.
"It’s been a hard couple of weeks for everyone, but we showed spirit and what we are all about.
"We worked hard, bodies on the line, all we have asked for and some defending was unbelievable. We never switched off for a second and you need to stand up to when they have good spells of possession.
"Trev was brilliant, but I could go through the whole team and say the same about them all.’"