Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman praised the efforts of his winning team against an MK Dons side with ‘nothing to lose’.
The Reds beat the Dons 2-1, Nelson Oliveira and Ryan Mendes scoring in the first half before substitute Josh Murphy pulled one back for the visitors late on.
And, while Freedman was delighted with the three points, he was particularly pleased with his side’s clinical start to the match.
The manager said: “We had to make sure we defended properly in the last 10-15 minutes and it’s credit to the lads.
“MK Dons had nothing to lose. In the last 30 minutes they threw on three attacking subs and got the ball in the box. In the end we had to show that desire, which I think we are developing, to make us a winning team.
“What I’m really pleased with was for the opening 20 minutes we looked devastating. We scored two and it could have been three. We really looked a fantastic side.”
Murphy’s goal set up a nervy finale as Forest protected their slender advantage with a makeshift defence following an injury to Dani Pinillos, who will have a scan on Monday.
Freedman said: “We need to understand that sometimes winning ugly is the way. I know Forest fans want to win in a certain way but if we cast ourselves back to Dave Bassett or the main man, Mr Clough, it wasn’t always pretty.
“Sometimes you’ve got to show that desire and hunger, and make sure you’re resilient. We’ve got that in the team right now and I believe with the cutting edge we’ve got up front there are positive signs going forward.”