Danny Cowley warned the rest of the Championship no one will come to Huddersfield Town “and beat us up” after going toe to toe with Nottingham Forest.
And at the end of a feisty game, which the Terriers won 2-1, he criticised the opposition coaching staff for a lack of respect.
Town took a 2-0 lead with goals either side from Christopher Schindler and Steve Mounie, from corners either side of half-time, and needed it, with Joe Worrall's header – also from a spot kick, making for a tight finish.
There was aggravation between both sets of players and coaches throughout, with jostling in the tunnel at half-time and Forest captain Ben Watson having to be restrained as he went for manager Cowley at the final whistle.
“They were physical, weren't they?” said Cowley. “They kicked us and Ian Kirkpatrick (Huddersfield's physio) has run a marathon today, the number of times he was on the pitch.
“You have two options, you either step back or step forward.
“No one's coming here and beating us up so we stepped forward and fought. We were into a fight.
“It's a competitive game, it's the Championship, it's what you have to do sometimes to win games. You have to win games in all different ways and I felt we did that and as a consequence that allowed us to wrestle control for the majority of the game up to probably the moment when they scored their first goal.
“It's a very important win. We could have made it easier for ourselves in the end. I felt we really well to get two goals in front through two well-worked set pieces, which is about time because wI'm used to my team scoring from them and we haven't been able to up to this point.”
But Cowley was scathing about opposite number Sabri Lamouchi and his Forest backroom.
“I think there's a way to conduct yourself and a way to behave, certainly in England we behave with respect,” said Cowley. “It's competitive and you do all you can to win but when the whistle goes you shake hands.
“They said some disrespectful things in my opinion – what I could make out of it.
“It happens in the heat of the moment.
“We're competitive and we sometimes have these moments. We don't like them but sometimes you have to stand up for yourselves and we did.”