Saturday’s convincing victory over league leaders Luton Town ensured Vale continue their rise up the Sky Bet League Two fable, and Neil Aspin admits he was very ‘proud’ of his players’ application.
The Valiants went in front during the first half via a Johnny Mullins own goal before a scintillating second 45 minutes saw the Vale Park crowd celebrate three more goals.
Tom Pope fired home a brace to continue his fine scoring form whilst Ben Whitfield also found the net, but the manager was quick to praise the overall display of his team.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted with that performance. All of the players deserve credit because they were excellent and we needed all eleven to play well to beat Luton.
“You need them all to do their jobs tactically as well because Luton have got good players and they move the ball quickly.
“They’ve got loads of goal scorers in their team and they are capable of really punishing teams, so the players have had to be at their best and they were today - we thoroughly deserved the win.”
On the work rate and commitment, Aspin added: “If you get one hundred per cent effort and commitment from the team, as a manager, you can’t ask for any more than that.
“I was very proud watching them today because not only did they compete, but they played some good football and it was a fantastic performance.”
Despite scoring four goals against a side who hadn’t lost away from home for 12 games in all competitions, the Valiants had chances to make the margin of victory even wider.
Cristian Montano forced Marek Stech into a fine save during the first half, Pope nodded a header just wide and various other opportunities passed by, but the manager insists he his content with just the four goals.
“It could’ve been more, but I’ll definitely settle for the four and I would’ve certainly taken that before the game,” he laughed.
“We did make chances today and I’m delighted with the efforts of the players out there.
“The clean sheet pleased me as much as the for goals, I must say. That’s why I was determined for us not to get sloppy once we got ourselves in front.
“Even when we were four up, we didn’t want to concede at the end because it’s about creating good habits, and if you can keep a clean sheet against Luton, it shows that you’re doing something well defensively.”
With just one day to recover, Vale will head to Notts County on Monday in high spirits and they will look to extend their unbeaten run to six games in Sky Bet League Two.
The Valiants have picked up 13 points from the last available 15, and Aspin is looking ahead to the New Year’s Day clash with great anticipation as he seeks to continue the momentum.
He said: “The players are doing their jobs well and they’re working hard, but Monday will be a difficult game because it comes so quickly and today would’ve taken a lot out of the players.
“I’ve got to have a look and see what options I have available, but the mood in the camp is really good at the moment.
“If you play like we did against Luton, you’re going to have a good atmosphere around the place and let’s hope we can continue on.”