Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink praised the effort levels of his new players as they helped secure him a 1-0 win over Doncaster in his first game as Cobblers boss.
Matt Crooks scored the only goal of the game after just 21 seconds in a first half where Town created plenty of chances, and they showed their grittier side in the second half to stop Rovers from equalising.
And that second half struggle, and how the players reacted to it, was one of the most pleasing aspects of the game for the new Sixfields boss.
He said: "The boys worked very hard, the application was magnificent. The three points were very important, but you look at your team and how they can suffer, and how they are willing to suffer. And we suffered today.
"But that was always going to be the case because it’s only been a few days together and the confidence is low. So we need to work on the confidence and believe in what we have got. And I must say, it’s a very good start.
"It was a win, but more important was the application of the players. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
And the former Dutch striker was thrilled with the early lead his side took, saying: “You dream of that kind of start, but let’s not great crazy - I was hoping for a second or third! It was a great start though.
“It shook us a bit actually because they were surprised, you could see that. We need to learn how we’re going to manage when we do that, that could have been better."
Despite having just a few days to train with their new manager, the Cobblers showed some urgency and creativity that they couldn't produce under Justin Edinburgh, and Hasselbaink was delighted to see some of the early training work put into practice on the pitch - even if it didn't always work out.
He said: "I was happy that they tried, they tried to do the right and they were doing it full-hearted. We can improve and we will improve. But I'm happy with how it all went today.
"Everything went in the right way. There are still a lot of things to work at, but it's a good start. You can see they are willing. I couldn't have asked for more. They showed really good spirit, and that's a good platform to be successful."
For Hasselbaink it was the first time in a dugout since his sacking at QPR back in November last year, and the former Chelsea striker was thrilled to be back in the action, even if it showed afterwards.
"My voice is gone!" he joked after the game. "It's been a while that I've been there screaming, so my voice is going to have to get used to it. But it's nice to be back, and nice to be working with players that are giving you 100 per cent."