Hull head coach Nigel Adkins saw positive signs from his new side as they dug deep to end a seven-game winless run with a 3-2 victory over in-form Brentford.
Adkins replaced Leonid Slutsky as Tigers boss on Thursday and he was put through the wringer in his first game in charge at the KCOM Stadium.
Hull responded positively to David Meyler’s own goal just after the break with strikes from Kamil Grosicki, Seb Larsson and Jackson Irvine leaving them on course for a comfortable win.
But John Egan’s header three minutes from time set up a nervy finish and the Tigers had to survive eight minutes of stoppage time to secure a much-needed victory.
“The players were top drawer,” said Adkins.
“Obviously the results haven’t been going as well as we would have liked but the players have done excellent today. They showed some great character and team spirit which is what you need first and foremost.
“It was a test of character going 1-0 down after the run of results we’ve had. The players deserve great credit. It’s a great start.
“I think we’ve got a lot of quality at the football club and today we’ve moved one step forward in the right direction.”
The win lifted Hull away from the relegation zone and towards the safety of mid-table but Adkins expressed his concern about his squad’s injury problems.
“We’ve got a hell of an injury list,” he added.
“Whoever was available today was on the teamsheet, everybody else is not fit, and we’ve picked up more injuries (Meyler and Max Clark) today.
“That’s obviously a challenge but all football clubs have that and we’ve got to deal with it.
“But it’s been a real positive couple of days and today makes it even more positive because we’ve got the victory with everyone working together.
“We gave the crowd something to cheer about and I thought the supporters got right behind the players.”
Brentford boss Dean Smith felt his side dealt comfortably with the buzz that Adkins’ appointment had created until they allowed Hull to grow in confidence.
“For 49 minutes it wasn’t very difficult at all,” said Smith, whose side had lost only once in 13 games heading into the weekend.
“Until the lad (Grosicki) scores a wonder goal and it became a game changer.
“It got the supporters back on their side and for whatever reason we just kept giving the ball away cheaply. I’m very angry about the way we did that.
“We felt this was an opportunity for us to come and get three points, and I felt like it was going to be.
“I was stood on the side quite comfortable for 49, 50 minutes then we pressed the self-destruct button.”