Interim Nottingham Forest manager Gary Brazil said the club was making a massive move in the right direction as fitness levels improved.
Brazil, who took over in mid-January after the sacking of Philippe Montanier, has steered the Reds to breathing space ahead of the bottom three in the Championship.
“All the players are dying to play and they are working hard on the training ground,” he said.
“There are no players who are questioning why they are not being picked, they are all working hard and trying to prove that they deserve a game.
“I can see the energy levels coming through. We are looking like a team that can compete for 90 minutes, for the rest of the season. You need to be competitive in the Championship and we are seeing that.
“From our point of view, that is a massive move in the right direction. I know what we are trying to achieve at this football club. We are working hard to create a base to build on, moving forward for the rest of this season and also for next season.
We have big decisions to make before every game, in terms of who we do put out. If you do not win the game you have selected the wrong players, if you win the game you have selected the right ones.
“That is the job we have to do here – and we think deeply about how we select players.
“We said (when we took over) this wouldn’t be a smooth passage and would be a bit of a rollercoaster. Hopefully the fans can see the work we are putting in.”
Lady luck might be smiling on Forest after a controversial opening goal in a surprise 3-0 home win over second-placed Brighton.
Brazil said: “If we have got a little bit of luck, I think we have warranted it. Our all-round performance was one that deserved victory.
“It was not a defining moment in the game because there was still a lot of football to play.”
The controversial moment came on the hour. Substitute Zach Clough was credited with the goal, but his shot appeared to be touched in by Britt Assombalonga who was in an offside position. Ben Osborn and a late Clough penalty sealed victory.
Brazil added: “It was a goal. It was a good win and a good performance. We deserved to win.
“In the first half we got a real grip of the game and then we pushed on from that in the second half. In key moments in the game we were strong.
“I am chuffed to bits for the players and the staff, but particularly for the fans who were really with us as the game went on.
“It is pleasing on a number of levels - that the hard work on the training ground by the players shows and that the work we are doing is coming together.”
“We won’t get carried away with it and we will keep our feet on the ground.”