Manager Micky Adams hit back at the critics who had questioned Vale's promotion aspirations in the run-up to his team's crushing 4-0 victory over 10-man Plymouth.

Some supporters slammed Vale's performance after they were beaten by Fleetwood at home on New Year's Day.

But Adams said: "The criticism was disappointing. I've never said we are Barcelona or Real Madrid. We are Port Vale and we've lost five games all season.

"We've also won three out of four games over Christmas and I'm sure a lot of teams would be very pleased with that record. You ask Plymouth, I'm sure they would be pleased.

"There was an overreaction from the critics and the only way you can counter that is go out and win the next game. We didn't play well against Fleetwood but we've done everything right here and got the result."

Adams, who made six changes to his starting line-up, added: "We changed the team around because I said after the Fleetwood game that we needed some fresh legs. It's no slight on the players who were left out, but those who came in did very well. To a man the team has stuck to our game plan and worked really, really hard. I'm very pleased."

Plymouth caretaker manager Kevin Nancekivell, appointed in the wake of Carl Fletcher's sacking, was left to rue the dismissal of Nick Chadwick.

But he insisted Argyle's players have plenty of spirit to drag themselves out of their current predicament, having dropped into League Two's relegation zone with defeat.

He said: "I thought we started brightly and the players put into practice what we were working on in the week.

"The sending-off changed the game. I genuinely didn't see the incident myself but if Nick is guilty he will be punished. It made things very difficult after that. Port Vale have got a big pitch, quick wide players and matchwinners in the penalty area, so it became tough."