Barry Ferguson spoke of his pride after Blackpool gave their Championship survival hopes a huge boost with a 2-0 win at Wigan.
Second-half goals from Andy Keogh and Stephen Dobbie fired Pool four places up the table and out of the relegation zone with only Saturday’s home clash with Charlton left.
Barnsley and Yeovil dropped down to League One over the weekend, and although there is one relegation place to be decided, Pool’s fate is now in their own hands.
As things stand, victory over Charlton will guarantee Pool’s survival and a draw will be good enough unless Doncaster win away to champions Leicester by five goals.
Even if they lose to the Addicks, Ferguson’s men can only be dragged back into the bottom three if results elsewhere go against them.
The situation will become clearer tomorrow night, when Birmingham and Charlton play their penultimate fixture at home to Wigan and Watford respectively, but Pool’s position is suddenly looking far healthier and the stand-in boss couldn’t be happier.
Ferguson said: “During the second half I was so proud. Whatever happens now, I know those boys have worked their socks off. It was a terrific result and I was delighted.
“Certain people have been questioning my players’ commitment and effort. Well, if people can’t see how committed these lads are they have a very serious problem.
“They ran themselves into the ground and gave me everything. From Matt Gilks right through to Andy Keogh, every one of them was great.”
A sensational penalty save from keeper Gilks kept Pool on level terms at half-time after Shaun Maloney went down softly under a Tony McMahon challenge.
The boss added: “Gilo made a big save and I think the boys grew in confidence after that. What pleased me most was the display in the second half. That’s the way I want to play. I want to get the ball down and attack, and after our first goal you saw the confidence flowing.
“The boys should be proud of themselves. The spirit and effort were phenomenal and I’m so glad they are proving certain people wrong.
“I don’t want to single anyone out – I’ll do that in private. I thought the whole team was excellent. Everything fell into place but that was because of hard work.”
The Seasiders were cheered on by 3,600 fans – 3,000 of them with free tickets given away by chairman Karl Oyston – and the sea of tangerine at one end of the DW Stadium made a huge difference.
“The fans were awesome,” said Ferguson. “From the first minute to the 94th they were great. They were the 12th man and it was great to see the stand packed with our fans.”
He apologised for ignoring them during the second half, when they chanted en masse for the 36-year-old to give them a wave.
Ferguson said: “I was concentrating on the game but I went and gave them a wave at the end instead. I don’t think it’s right to wave during a game but it was great to hear the fans singing. They’ve sung my name plenty of times.
“I hope they understand I wasn’t ignoring them – I was concentrating. I gave them a clap at the end because they really deserved it.”