Neil Warnock praised Cardiff’s indomitable spirit after the Bluebirds paid a fitting tribute to missing striker Emiliano Sala.
Cardiff claimed a first Premier League win of 2019 by beating Bournemouth 2-0 on an emotional night in the Welsh capital.
This was Cardiff’s first home game since record £15million signing Sala and pilot David Ibbotson went missing after the plane carrying them over the English Channel disappeared on January 21.
Tributes were paid to the two men before kick-off and the charged atmosphere appeared to galvanise Cardiff, who went ahead through the first of Bobby Reid’s two goals inside five minutes.
“The best,” Cardiff manager Warnock replied when asked about the two performances since Sala’s disappearance.
“I can’t be more proud. If we didn’t get another point this year, I’d still think the players have been amazing.
“I look around the dressing room, the characters and where they’ve come from, and know I couldn’t ask any more of any of them.
“Last year at Christmas we lost five games on the trot and everybody said ‘Wow! Gone’.
“Then at Easter, they said the bubble had burst. But we really don’t know when we’re beaten.
“We looked at their bench and it cost £86million and I think ours was about five or six.
“That’s what you’re up against in the Premier League, because these clubs have got amazing ability.”
Cardiff remain 18th and in the relegation zone but are now only two points adrift of Burnley, Newcastle and Southampton.
Only bottom-placed Huddersfield and Newcastle have scored fewer goals than Cardiff, but the arrival of Senegal international Oumar Niasse on loan from Everton has provided more mobility and pace to the attack.
“Since he’s been here I don’t think he’s ever worked as hard in his life. But he’s given us another dimension.
“It makes me realise we’ve played two years without a centre-forward, but we haven’t done bad, have we?”
Bournemouth had been on a high after thrashing Chelsea 4-0 in midweek and a third successive win would have taken them into the top eight of the division.
But the Cherries, without injured pair Callum Wilson and David Brooks, managed only two shots on target despite having 73 per cent possession.
Manager Eddie Howe said: “It’s hugely disappointing because we wanted to build on what we’d done.
“We felt that the result against Chelsea could be a really good turning point for us.
“We’ve been searching for consistency this season, as every team is, but we’ve never felt like we’ve really broken that.
“We have got a lot of time to reflect now and focus on Liverpool.
“But we have to sort out our inconsistencies, that’s going to be our biggest challenge.”