Sheffield Wednesday's players left the Elland Road pitch this afternoon battered and bruised – and their manager Garry Monk was delighted.
Monk was critical of the effort his team put in during a difficult Christmas week where they lost three games in seven days.
But an experienced Owls squad have risen to the challenge, knocking Premier League Brighton and Hove Albion out of the FA Cup, then winning 2-0 at Monk's former club Leeds United.
“That's what it takes to win,” said Monk, when it was pointed out his team had left the field slightly bedraggled but delighted after late goals from Jacob Murphy and Adthe Nuhiu.
“We didn't have battered and bruised bodies in that (Christmas) week. In the last two weeks we have and that's the price, the sacrifice you have to pay.
“That's the robustness you're looking for.
“That's the most pleasing bit, that we have players hurting and crawling off the pitch. That's how it should be.
“We're pleased with that result. The league leaders away from home, it was a difficult game for us, we knew that coming into it and it proved to be all the way through. They make it very difficult for you and structurally you have to be very good and organised, all those sort of things., Most of all you have to try to match their intensity and it's a difficult thing to do.
“I thought we matched them and especially in the second half we tried to step up a little bit and we did that.”
Wednesday defended doggedly in a first half where the Whites had the better chances, but then took control in the second. Sam Winnall had a couple of good opportunities to put his side up front before making way for Nuhiu, the creator of the first goal.
Ironically, Leeds were having their first spell of second-half pressure when the Owls twice hit them on the counter-attack.
“We looked at ourselves at half-time and tried to push ourselves physically,” explained Monk, Leeds manager for the 2016-17 season.
“In the first half we were matching them but we needed to try and get above them.
“Chances were always going to be a little more sporadic because of the pressure they put you under but I thought we controlled that and took our chances. We were very clinical, fantastic finishes.
“The gameplan was good and worked well.
“The most important thing was that I wanted the lads to play with their heart. It was something we talked about after that week where we lost three games.”