Sean Dyche felt Burnley’s Boxing Day victory over Derby County was a fitting reward for another solid display.
The Clarets made it just one defeat in seven games thanks to Charlie Austin’s 23d goal of the season and a first goal in 20 months for defensive lynchpin Michael Duff.
And Dyche believe the Clarets can look forward to ending 2012 on a high and entering the new year with confidence thanks to a convincing three points.
The gaffer said: “It was a very good win, a thorough performance and a nice clean sheet as well.
“I thought the team went about the game in the right manner and I was so pleased for the lads because I’ve been beginning to sound like a broken record!
“That’s only one defeat in seven now and with some really good performances in there, so we are showing good signs.
“I spoke when I got here about finding the mix between the pride in wearing the shirt and the work ethic, while not sacrificing the fluid play.
“We have found that balance and it’s a hard line to find.
“The team has to be defensively strong enough, the framework secure and the attacking players have to have the freedom to open teams up.
“That has to be glued together by the respect for the shirt and that link with the supporters…and it’s coming because we are making this place very difficult for teams to come.
“It’s very difficult to dominate a game and although they had a good spell for 15 minutes we got the second goal, which obviously calmed everyone.
“But I just felt we managed the game very well and ran out worthy winners.”
Austin’s deflected first half strike made him the first Claret to score 20 league goals in a season since Andy Payton achieved the feat in 2000.
And Dyche, who substituted the 23-goal striker near the end as a precaution, was not bemoaning a huge slice of luck that was the catalyst for the first double of the season.
He said: “I think we have had our pocket picked a couple of times and a couple of refereeing decisions go against us, so I am not too worried about that little slice of luck going our way.
“We took Charlie off near the end as he had a tightness in a muscle, but we got him off sharply so hopefully it will settle down quickly.
“Junior (Stanislas) was another with a tight hamstring and it was too much to have him in the squad. You have to be careful and you are at the mercy of the medial team.
“But players come in and out and I am pleased to say they have adapted well. It is a squad game and yet again today I felt the substitutes had an impact.”