Jon Whitney hailed goalkeeper Liam Roberts after his man-of-the-match display helped Walsall to an entertaining 2-1 victory over Oxford.
Amadou Bakayoko and Erhun Oztumer scored the Saddlers’ goals, although it was Roberts who emerged as the real hero after producing a string of impressive saves.
“Liam was outstanding – he pulled off some world class saves,” said Whitney.
“It seems like an exaggeration when you say world class but I think they were, especially the tip-over in the second half which was outstanding.
“His whole demeanour today was really good. He commanded his box really well and played out when he could.
“He’s coming out of himself and he’s been through a lot in his life and I’m proud of the kid.”
While thrilled with Roberts’ contribution, Whitney was happy with the overall team effort.
“It was a good game, an incredible tempo,” he added.
“They put us under pressure late on but we dug in at the end with some resolute defending and saw out the game.
“The effort of our young players, and the desire and determination to try to play the right way when they were trying to press us, made me proud.
“Sometimes, in periods, you’ve got to win ugly and put your bodies on the line and just fight for it.
“I’m proud of the players and I thought the fans were excellent as well.”