Malky Mackay thrilled Cardiff City's spirit
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay said Sunday's victory over West Ham United was just reward for the summer of hard work and commitment shown by his squad.
Kenny Miller, one of eight Cardiff debutants, struck an injury-time winner in Mackay's first game in charge.
"The work rate, the effort, the commitment so far has been exceptional. It was great reward for them," said Mackay after the 1-0 win at Upton Park.
"I'm delighted that Kenny got on the scoresheet at the end."
The Bluebirds had to deal with plenty of West Ham pressure in the opening game of the Championship season, but the home side eventually paid the price for squandering their chances in front of goal.
Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall was solid when called upon, and midfielder Peter Whittingham saved his side by clearing off the line with his right knee to deny James Tomkins a certain goal.
"Whitts is someone who works so hard for the football team," added Mackay, who has made nine new signings.
"People talk about his ability going forward, well I've seen over the last five weeks the amount of ability he's got in terms of helping others as well.
"We asked him to go to certain places and be organised and he certainly did that. He was where he was supposed to be."
Match-winner Miller was joined by Rob Earnshaw in Cardiff's new-look forward line, and Mackay believes that partnership can develop into a potent attacking force.
"Kenny and Earnie haven't had a lot of training over the last month and when they get that little bit sharper then you're going to see good stuff from them," said the former Watford manager. who succeeded Dave Jones in June.
"They are proven goalscorers and they've both captained their country which means they are big personalities as well.
"It's great for the football club that they've both decided to come and pin themselves to our football club. I'm delighted for them.
"But I have to say the whole team were exceptional in terms of the work and effort they put in to each other."
Mackay faces another away trip on Wednesday as he takes his side to face League Two side Oxford United in the first round of the Carling Cup.
He is set to be without Miller, Earnshaw, Kevin McNaughton, Don Cowie, Darcy Blake, Aron Gunnarsson and Joe Mason becuse of international duty.