Paul Cook was more than satisfied after seeing Wigan Athletic have the best of a goalless draw against Premier League Everton in their penultimate pre-season run-out.
Cook's side enjoyed the best of a decent friendly contest at the DW, with Josh Windass forcing a great save from England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the first half.
At the other end, Jamie Jones was a virtual spectator as a backline including former Everton man Antonee Robinson kept them at arm's length.
"I'm delighted with the lads and what they're doing," Cook enthused.
"To be fair, even going back to last season, it's very rare when I've criticised them for not giving me enough.
"Tonight was no different, Everton are a very strong side with good players, and you have to work so hard to get the ball.
"To restrict a side like that to no real shots on goal is great credit to the players.
"Playing against the likes of Everton, and Burnley on Saturday, is exactly what we need heading into the season.
"It's tough on the legs, but it's good on the legs.
"You've got to be durable these days to be able to play and that's what these lads have."
Cook also refused to be drawn on the transfer speculation linking Latics with West Ham striker Jordan Hugill and Portsmouth forward Jamal Lowe.
But he's remaining hopeful the last fortnight of the window will bear fruit in his attempts to bring in reinforcements.