Andy Awford was delighted with the efforts of his Portsmouth players in their hard-fought 1-0 victory at struggling Northampton Town.
Danny East spent time on-loan at Sixfields last season and returned to score the only goal of the game against his old club to leave them deep in trouble.
Pompey, on the back of four straight wins which secured their Football League status, always had too much for Cobblers in the first half.
But Chris Wilder's side had enough chances in each half to have got something out of their game only for their failings in the final third to deny them the elusive equaliser.
Awford said: "It's been a fantastic run and the players deserve massive credit for what they've achieved.
"We were looking over our shoulders when we took over and through the trap door but that's gone away now and we can start to look upwards.
"We have a way of playing and have allowed the players some freedom in the final third but the one thing I've always insisted on is desire.
"The players have given me that in bucket loads and they've kept on competing, Northampton did okay and put us under some pressure in the second half but every single one of my players stood firm.
"We freshened things up, I felt we needed to change a few things although some changes were enforced because of only having 48 hours rest after Saturday. The changes have paid off again but the players are very confident at the moment.
"As long as the players have that desire we will be okay at this club. They are a great bunch to work with and they deserve all the credit because they've been absolutely superb."
As for next season, Awford added: "I'm still only caretaker manager of the club. I've got plans in my own head if I become manager next season but they will stay in my head in case another manager comes in.
"It took me just two seconds to decide to take the job on, it may take longer to do it on a permanent basis. So we need to sit down with the board and see where we think the football club is going in the future."
Cobblers assistant manager Alan Knill said: "We've done everything in that game and I have to say I thought our performance was outstanding. We're always disappointed to lose but if you're going to lose then that's how you should do it, you should keep going.
"Portsmouth are the form team in the division and we've come away from that match disappointed that we haven't got anything from them. It was a bad goal to concede; it made things difficult for us after that and we seem to be doing that more at home than we are away from home.
"You give the opposition something to cling on to when you do that and that's exactly what Portsmouth did. We played some good football and had some chances but it just wouldn't go for us."