Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, insisted he will be proud of his players no matter how the rest of the season unfolds after praising their courage and bravery during tonight's win over Brentford.
Against opponents Wilder acknowledged are "the worst team in the division to face with 10 men", United moved to within a point of the automatic promotion places despite seeing Gary Madine sent-off before half-time.
Having taken the lead through an Oliver Norwood penalty, Wilder's side found themselves at a numerical disadvantage when the centre-forward was shown a straight red card following a challenge on Yoann Barbet. But substitute David McGoldrick's goal during the closing stages put the game beyond the visitors' reach.
The result prompted Thomas Frank, Wilder's opposite number, to describe United as a Premier League squad in waiting and the 51-year-old purring with delight.
"I just think, regardless of how the rest of it turns out, they gave everything for this club," Wilder said. "That's what we wanted when we first came in and that's what these lads have brought.
"From a character point of view, from the art of defending, that was up there. Everyone talks about rotation and playing between the lines and stuff like that - I've got a word for it but I won't use it - but that was sheer attitude. It was right up there.
“That was about the will not to concede a goal. To put your body on the line and keep it out of the net. To put it all on the line to keep a clean sheet."
Although Wilder acknowledged United had "enjoyed a little bit of good fortune at times", this was their sixth shut-out in succession. They will enter Saturday's match at new leaders Leeds without the suspended Madine - "It was the correct decision," Wilder admitted - but having not conceded a goal in nearly 10 hours of football.
Speaking afterwards, Frank praised United's staff for their tactical acumen and predicted they will go on to secure a top two finish.
"I say that for three reasons," the Dane said. "One, they have an identity. Two, because they play in a way very few other teams do and three, because of the attitude and the mentality they showed out there."
"There are games that can define a season," Frank added. "And for them, I think this can be one of those."