Graham Westley felt he got the right response from his much-changed Preston North End side in their goalless draw against Portsmouth.
The PNE boss swung the axe for the Fratton Park clash, making six changes to the starting line-up.
Solid if unspectacular was the way he described the performance, North End surviving an early scare when Pompey striker Izale McLeod missed a penalty.
Westley said: “We looked like pussy cats the week before against Crewe.
“If you lose a game of football, you want to know that at least your side has put up a show – you want to know your side has sweated blood for the club. Last weekend we didn’t do that.
“I don’t like walking away from football grounds without a result, full-stop. But I don’t like walking away where my sides haven’t sweated blood for the result.
“At Portsmouth there was a sense of purpose about them, they were willing to defend and track their runners.
“Clean sheets have been few and far between this season, albeit in the period before the injuries to Scott Laird and Keith Keane, we seemed to be getting something together.
“Defensively I thought we did well once we sorted out the early difficulties and swapped the two centre-halves around. Thorsten Stuckmann did his job well too. He was very professional in his performance and made a couple of great saves.”
The six players to benefit from a recall were Jack King, Bailey Wright, David Buchanan, Andy Procter, Joel Byrom and Chris Beardsley.
Westley took all of his squad – bar injured pair Laird and Keane – to Pompey, with John Welsh and Paul Huntington not making the 18.
Lee Holmes was restricted to a substitute’s role having struggled with a sickness bug in the week, and Stuart Beavon joined him on the bench after a sinus infection.
Said Westley: “It was a hard-working performance from us.
“We made a number of changes to the side so it was going to be difficult for the lads to show genuine organisation.
“But on the whole in the 90 minutes, they worked hard at their organisation, worked hard to stay solid and came away with a clean sheet.
“It was in part to a couple of great saves from our keeper, but largely in part to the attitude and work-rate of the whole side.
“We did enough going forward to carve out some good moments and if one of those had gone in, it could have been a different story.
“The clean sheet was positive though, after doing a lot of re-shaping of our back four.
“After doing all that re-shaping, sustaining the momentum in our forward game isn’t easy.
“But we’ll carry on working at that and solving problems.
“I wasn’t able to consider Beavon or Holmes from the start because they’d been ill.”
Chris Robertson will miss tomorrow night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie at Bury through suspension, the centre-half having picked up his fifth yellow card against Pompey.