Grant McCann felt his side showed both sides of their game in the 1-0 victory over Swindon Town.
Greg Docherty’s fifth-minute strike from George Honeyman’s pull-back following Dan Crowley’s threaded pass lifted Hull City back to the League One summit.
The Tigers had chances to make the win more comfortable, most notably from Keane Lewis-Potter and Mallik Wilks, but rarely looked in danger of conceding.
McCann was delighted with the football his team played in the opening period, as well as the defensive resilience after the break to limit Town to one shot on target.
“We were very good first half,” said McCann.
“Some of the passages of play, the way we were moving the ball quickly and breaking through them really well, it was an excellent first-half performance.
“Second half, we had to show the other side of our game.
“We tried something different in the second half. We tried to get Dan Crowley playing as a false nine because their midfield were man v man against ours and chasing George and Doc everywhere.
“We tried to get Crowley freed up in the centre of the pitch and get Keane and Mallik to run in behind.
“It didn’t work for us so we reverted back to what we started the first half with.
“We huffed and puffed a little bit in the second half.
“I didn’t think we were in any real danger. Defensively, from the turn of the year, we’ve been really good. We were again today.
“Organised, shape was good – all through the game.
“First half, in terms of the way we played, was really good. Second half, we had to dig in a little bit and see the game out if we weren’t going to get that second goal.
“I thought we showed both sides of our game today and responded really well to a defeat during the week.
“To respond again, against a team who are fighting for their lives, it’s a big win for us today. Mentally, for the players to get the three points was massive.”
McCann made two alterations to his starting XI, with Richie Smallwood and Josh Magennis dropping out and Gavin Whyte not involved in the matchday squad.
The boss explained: “It’s important we do freshen it up when we can. We’ve got a good squad of players here.
“It was important to get a bit of rest into Richie, in particular, because he’s played nearly every single game.
“George Honeyman wasn’t going to start the game today. Gavin Whyte picked up an injury in training yesterday – I was going to give George a breather.
“But when I spoke to George, he was more than happy (to play). As you can see, in terms of his performance, there was nothing wrong with his performance – he was brilliant again.
“Gavin rolled his ankle in training. I don’t know a timescale or how bad it is until he gets his scan, which he’ll have on Monday morning.
“It’s a bit of a blow for us but we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that it’s nothing too severe.”