Daniel Farke praised his Norwich players for executing the perfect game plan after James Maddison scored a 79th-minute winner at Bristol City.
The midfielder's eighth goal of the season inflicted a fifth successive defeat on Carabao Cup heroes City, three of them in the Sky Bet Championship, giving the Canaries boss special satisfaction.
Farke said: "We had a really thin squad today, but we had a special plan for this game and I have to congratulate my players because it worked perfectly.
"It was a tough week for us, with two players leaving and some injuries. This ranks up there with the best results we have had while I have been in charge.
"Bristol score a lot of goals, yet they hardly had a shot in the first half. When you have five minutes of stoppage time it is always spicy and our goalkeeper has had to make one world-class save.
"We defended really well, trying to make them play as many long balls as possible and looking to block up the middle of the pitch where they like to play a lot of give-and-goes.
"Bristol City are one of the teams of the season and have many good players so we need to enjoy this result and not think too far ahead."
Maddison's goal in a 1-0 triumph capped a sweeping Norwich move. Mario Vrancic's raking cross-field pass found Ivo Pinto on the right and he quickly played the ball inside.
There was still plenty for Maddison to do, but he cut inside onto his left foot and beat Frank Fielding with a sweetly struck left-footed shot from 15 yards.
City hit the post in the second half through Josh Brownhill, who was also denied by a magnificent Angus Gunn save during five minutes of stoppage time.
That left head coach Lee Johnson bemoaning his luck.
"The ball is not quite breaking for us in the opposition box at the moment and that was an unbelievable save," he said.
"I always feared this period of games and perhaps we are victims of our cup success. The Manchester City game in midweek took a huge amount of energy out of the players.
"We did OK today, but perhaps lacked a physical presence up front. Unfortunately, due to injury, that is not an option I have at the moment.
"In the first half I felt we didn't get enough quality balls into the Norwich box. But we put that right at half-time and on our second-half performance we might have won 3-0 on another day.
"Norwich were always dangerous on the break. But I couldn't fault the lads for their effort and I'm glad there is a free week now before we take on Derby."