Neil Warnock got the response he wanted from his players as Leeds United battled to a 1-0 win at Millwall.
The Elland Road men arrived in south London still smarting from Tuesday’s 7-3 humbling by Nottingham Forest.
But Ross McCormack’s second-half strike, and a penalty save by Andy Lonergan 60 seconds later, helped banish those memories and secured Warnock’s second win since he took charge.
“I asked the players to come off the pitch knowing they could not give any more,” said the United manager.
“The other night they could have given a lot more. I asked for a response today and I felt they gave everything.
“It’s important to bounce back from a humiliating result.”
Matches between these two sides are rarely easy on the eye and this was no exception amid a hostile atmosphere created by two sets of fans with a distinct dislike of each other.
After a forgettable first half, Millwall were howling for a penalty when James Henry was tripped by McCormack but referee Lee Probert booked the winger.
Instead, at the other end, Robert Snodgrass raided down the right in the 65th minute and crossed for McCormack to bundle in his 17th goal of the season.
Millwall were thrown a lifeline moments later when Alex Bruce felled Andy Keogh in the area and Probert this time pointed to the spot.
But Leeds keeper Lonergan guessed right and pulled off a fine save to deny Lions’ top scorer Darius Henderson.
Leeds are now just three points adrift of the play-off places but Warnock has his eye on a promotion push next season.
“I don’t think we’re good enough to get in the play-offs but we’ll keep fighting,” he added.
“I think it’s too soon for us but it won’t be for the lack of trying.
“I thought the atmosphere was fabulous, it wasn’t a great game but you were never going to get that here.
“I like Millwall, it’s a fabulous arena for a manager - except we always seem to get cold showers afterwards.”
Millwall are five points above the relegation zone after yet another home defeat - they have not won in front of their own fans since Boxing Day.
Manager Kenny Jackett, who refused to criticise Probert for some of his more contentious decisions, wants his side to reach 50 points as soon as possible.
“It was a spirited performance and we were very unlucky not to get anything,” he said.
“To get beaten is a tough one to take but we have to move on. We have to play with that spirit all the time.
“We need 10 points from our last seven games.”