Southend United manager Phil Brown felt his team were outfought by Northampton Town as the Cobblers lifted themselves off the bottom of the Football League with a 2-1 win.
Northampton made it back-to-back wins with a victory secured by a goal in each half from central defender Mathias Doumbe and right-winger Chris Hackett.
Midfielder Michael Timlin netted in between to bring the Shrimpers level but they were eventually defeated as a result of what Brown felt was the home side's superior fighting spirit.
And he now wants the Blues to use that as a template for the remainder of the season as they bid to avoid their quest for promotion petering out.
"I thought in the first half it was a good, old-fashioned game of football between two committed sides," said Brown, whose side are now without a win in their past eight games.
"The battling qualities of the players was there for all to see but it was disappointing to concede from a set-piece and words were said at half-time.
"Quite simply we didn't match them in the battle in the second half and that was the difference between the two teams.
"Northampton fully deserved to win the game - they looked like they were fighting for their lives and we've got to start fighting like that ourselves.
"We need that mentality between now and the end of the season. Regardless of where you are in the division, we've got to fight like they fought - like our lives depend on it."
Those words will be warmly welcome by his opposite number Chris Wilder, who has led Northampton to three wins in their past four games and given their supporters real hope that they can survive this season.
He admitted to being initially thrown by Southend's 3-5-2 system but was pleased with the way his players adapted to collect three vital points.
"It was a tight game against a very good side and it had a little bit of everything really," said Wilder, who led the Cobblers to a win over Hartlepool on Saturday.
"Southend surprised us with their shape at first and they didn't allow us to play at all in the first half.
"But we got to grips with it and I thought we got better as the game went on. The substitutes we brought into the game managed to put them under a bit of pressure too.
"Gradually we wore them down and we could have nicked another one in the last 15 minutes of the match but it's a great effort and a very good result for us.
"We got the crowd off their feet with our committed performance and that is always pleasing as a manager."