Micky Adams heaped praise on his battling Port Vale side as they climbed to the top of League Two with a 3-2 win at Dagenham.
But Adams stressed the hard work has yet to come with the Valiants keen to stay above fellow title-chasers Gillingham.
"It's great to be top of the table, the lads deserve it for their hard work," Adams said.
"But there's a long way to go and we've got to keep maintaining the same high standards I expect.
"The lads were excellent but I was disappointed we didn't put the game to bed in the second half."
First-half goals from Tom Pope, Jennison Myrie-Williams and Louis Dodds were enough for maximum points, although a penalty from Sam Williams and an 83rd-minute goal from Scott Doe made for an interesting finish.
But Adams was adamant his side deserved the points and was understandably boosted by a second successive league victory following Boxing Day's 2-1 triumph over Rotherham.
"We've had a good couple of victories, it's just what we needed because we've got a lot of tough games to come," he added.
Meanwhile, Daggers' boss John Still admitted his side faced an uphill task after conceding the early goals but drew comfort from their efforts during the game.
"I was impressed with our second-half performance and the way the lads battled to get back into the game," he said. "We knew it was going to be tough because they (Port Vale) have had a great season, that's why they're top of the league."