Neal Ardley says his Notts County players carried out his instructions to the letter during Saturday’s goalless draw with Bury.
The Magpies produced one of their best performances of the season and were deserving of all three points at Meadow Lane – which they could have claimed had Jon Stead converted his second-half penalty.
Ardley changed his side’s shape for the fixture and was hugely impressed with the application of the 3-5-2 formation.
“We worked on a specific gameplan for this match and the boys carried it out to the letter,” said the boss.
“We knew the best way to tackle Bury would be to change shape and I told the boys I needed them to show excellent energy.
“The tactics and the way they carried them out were spot on and, in many ways, it was the perfect performance.
“The fans want that kind of display - to see the lads playing for the shirt in the way they did from the first minute to the last.”
With a host of players unavailable, Ardley was forced to shuffle the pack – making six changes to his starting line-up.
And he felt Notts were due a change of fortune.
“We have had setbacks and people absent and you start to wonder what else can go wrong!” he said.
“But when everything is going against you, it can turn into something special and the boys showed that today.
“In the first half we kept them very quiet and were always more likely to score. In the second period we negotiated the spell of pressure we expected them to have and then had our own opportunities to win the game.
“If we’d have got the goal and won 1-0 it would have been the classic performance as we did everything right.”