Keith Hill was delighted with his Rochdale side's progress after a 3-0 win over Fleetwood took them further away from the drop zone.
Goals from Ian Henderson and then George Donnelly against his former employees put Dale on track for an important win.
After Andy Mangan saw his spot-kick saved and then defender Nathan Pond was sent off for his involvement in a touchline altercation Jason Kennedy rubbed salt into wounds late on to delight Hill.
He said: "I see a squad buying into the way the game can be played and we can be successful.
"There have been a lot of fights along the way, with the players to prove I'm right. As pleasing as we were on the eye, we were equally good off the ball.
"We've got the balance right at the minute. I'm pleased for the players, they've worked hard. They're being rewarded now.
"If we carry on with that hard work and energy we can deliver back to the football club and supporters what we achieved over our first four and a half years."