Coach Chris Morgan called Sheffield United's performance 'clinical' after watching them cruise to a 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Bristol City.
The visitors had started the afternoon one place above the Blades in the Sky Bet League 1 table, but the two teams looked worlds apart as goals from John Brayford, Ryan Flynn and a Jose Baxter penalty eased the host's relegation worries.
Despite marching into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, United's League 1 status remains far from assured.
But, on this evidence at least, Nigel Clough's players should be involved in a promotion battle at the other end of the division rather than a relegation scrap.
"We always knew it wasn't a game to lose," said Morgan, deputising for manager Clough at the post-match media conference.
"And I think the lads have gone out there and applied themselves brilliantly. But what we have to do now is make sure we carry that on. We don't want to relax or ease off because things are still very tight towards the bottom of the table.
"The players, though, do deserve a lot of credit for that. They played some very good football but they also worked very hard for each other. And, in this situation, that's important.
"So the challenge now is to keep that going, maintain the same standards and make sure we are always striving to improve.
"We got ourselves into some good positions and then were clinical when we had to be."
Morgan added: "I think we've been able to take confidence from what we've done in the cup, but the league is still our bread and butter and we want to get ourselves out of trouble and then kick-on.
"Keeping our focus and work ethic are going to be the keys to that."
Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill had few complaints about the result.
"I was surprised and, unfortunately, the scoreline was a fair reflection of what went on," he said. "I can't dress that up at all and it's very difficult to talk about what happened to be honest.
"We were abysmal. We didn't do anything. Certainly nothing that we'd shown in training during the week.
"We showed no composure when we needed it and too much composure when we didn't.
"I'm a winner and I don't like it when my teams don't win. But I like it even less when they play like that.
"We had a great following here and we let them down badly. Sheffield United have not sprung any surprises on us whatsoever out there. That makes it even harder to take.
"This is a great football club and it's painful when you see things like that happen to the team. What we've got to do is dust ourselves down and then, in our next game, look to put that right.
"I try and be a positive person but, to be honest, there are very few positives, if any, that I can take from that."