Neil Aspin watched his Port Vale side brush aside Stoke City's U21s on Tuesday night to secure a place in the next round of the Checkatrade Trophy, but the gaffer insists it wasn't plain sailing despite the 4-0 scoreline.
Tom Pope handed the Valiants an early lead with an emphatic header before a Cristian Montano brace ensured the margin stood at three goals going into half-time. Luke Hannant then added a fourth midway through the second half to cap off a strong performance.
Following the win, Aspin was full of praise for the way his players handled the occasion to get the result. He decided to make just one change to the side that beat Yeovil Town in Sky Bet League Two last week, and it paid dividends, but the manager insists both teams deserve credit.
He said: "No victories are routine against Stoke, I can tell you that. Any game where you're playing against your local rivals is a big one, and regardless of the fact it is their under-21s, it's still a Stoke City side.
"We were desperate to beat them so I'm really pleased with the attitude of our players. They were professional tonight and they got the job done.
"I think it was a good game for both sides and our lads have come out of it with their heads held high, and they've done the job that our own supporters wanted them to do.
"For Stoke, they had a lot of young lads who won't have played in that sort of atmosphere and it will show them a side of football that they're probably not used to - it has been good in some ways for both teams."
Having demanded more goals from his squad on numerous occasions so far this season, Aspin has now seen Vale score seven in the last two games, and they have come from various sources.
Cristian Montano scored twice in both the Yeovil and Stoke victories, whilst Connell Rawlinson, Tom Pope and Luke Hannant have all chipped in with one apiece too, and that has pleased the manager who hopes the players can continue finding the net with regularity.
"It's very good because in the Swindon game we hardly made a chance and we were very poor, but we have had a positive couple of results since then," Aspin said.
"We've got to keep working hard and we must try to build on that, but hopefully we can keep progressing in this competition too.
"The final is a long way off, but we've treated the competition with respect and we've got to keep doing that, to try and get as far as we can.
"If Monty (Montano) can stay fit and we can keep him playing he will be a threat. We need to have more goal scorers on the pitch, and at the moment Monty's confidence is high after another two good finishes tonight."
Vale will discover who they will face in the Round of 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy on Saturday 8th December, with the draw set to take place live on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday at approximately 12:20pm, and ties will be played during the week commencing 7th January 2019.