After fending off pressure for more than an hour, Nigel Clough said his side had nothing left to give as Burton Albion held on to a 1-0 win over MK Dons on Tuesday night.
Liam Boyce's goal after 20 minutes came against the run of play, but Burton did precious little after taking the lead, instead, shaping to absorb Dons' attempts at getting an equaliser for the remainder of time at the Pirelli Stadium.
Russell Martin nor Callum Brittain could quite believe how Dons had not got at least a point for their efforts, and Burton boss Clough said his players were out on their feet come the full-time whistle.
He said: “We had to defend in numbers, and it was an incredible effort by the players to see it through. We restricted them to two or three real opportunities, but they are a very good team. They kept the ball, kept probing and everybody in our team is dead on their feet tonight after the game.
“Any three points are important if you want to make the play-offs. But when you have lots of players out and a tired team like we had tonight they are even more important. When Lucas Akins, our fittest player is on his knees and shattered at the end of the game then everyone is going to be.
“We had two or three great opportunities in the first 10 minutes to punish them but eventually they pushed us back and there are times when you have to say that you can’t go pressing as you haven’t got the energy and you have to play accordingly.”