The Owls boss had challenged his players to improve on their terrible thumping and after last weekend's victory over Leicester, a 0-0 draw at promotion-chasing Swansea was just what he wanted to see.
Dogged defending by the visitors prevented former Sheffield United man David Cotterill and Darren Pratley from opening the scoring in the early stages but it was a below-par performance by the Swans who must bounce back against promotion rivals West Brom on Tuesday night.
Irvine, however, was delighted with the new-found resilience of his side: "I think we deserved a draw and had to work very hard for it as we knew there would be periods when we didn't have the ball and were prepared for that.
"Midway through the first half we began passing the ball much better and it was only in the closing stages that I felt a little worried.
"Swansea have a fantastic record of winning games 1-0 and I was a little nervous as the game moved to a close.
"We have recently played three of the top sides and not looked out of place but we have to build on these performances to push on and have a lot of hard work to do.
"Four games ago we were hammered 5-0 at Reading but the players have shown great character in coming back from that defeat and I am delighted with their response."
While the draw was good for Wednesday, it was poor for Swansea who lost ground in the promotion race.
"It was a difficult game as I predicted it would be," said Swansea manager Paulo Sousa. "They were well organised but we seemed a little tired and although we created a few good chances we never had any luck.
"The players have plenty of desire and I made the changes at half-time to switch things around and be more aggressive.
"In this type of game we were unable to play the way we would like to but the players are tired both physically and mentally and we haven't had time to prepare for different opponents.
Wednesday were desperate for points to pull themselves away from the relegation zone and, after four minutes, Leon Clarke tried to lob goalkeeper Dorus De Vries only to see the ball land on top of the home netting.
Swansea: De Vries; Williams, Tate, Rangel, Richards; Britton, Pratley, Gower, Butler (Van der Gun 46); Cotterill (Trundle 77), Beattie (Kuqi 46). Unused substitutes: Cornell, Dyer, Bauza, Lucas.
Sheffield Wednesday: Grant; Spurr, Purse, Beevers, Nolan; Miller, Potter, O'Connor, Johnson; Clarke, Varney (Tudgay 70). Unused substitutes: O'Donnell, Hinds, Esajas, Simek, Soares, Gray.
Referee: Russell Booth (Nottinghamshire).
Man of the match: Mark Beevers.
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