Keith Curle praised the way his Carlisle side adapted in the 2-1 Sky Bet League Two win at Cambridge.
The Cumbrians responded to a home defeat against Swindon on the opening day of the season with a win courtesy of first-half goals from Reggie Lambe and Tom Parkes.
Cambridge had equalised in the first half through Medy Elito's penalty.
"We worked on it as soon as we had the positive result on Tuesday night," said Curle, referring to Carlisle's win at Fleetwood in the Carabao Cup. "Right away on Wednesday morning we set about formulating a plan. The players adapted, understood and applied themselves, which I think is important for a team that wants to be progressive.
"Sometimes it's not your natural game because we had to play a game not based on how we're training every day. We want to get the ball down, we want to pass and manoeuvre teams around.
"Today I knew with the opposition we were playing that they wanted confrontation. We didn't go on the back foot, we met it head on and we earned the right to score goals. We wanted to play the game in the final 35 yards of the pitch.
"It was difficult because we had team selections that I had to change. It's a squad game and everybody's got a part to play. That showed today, there was no resentment, no ill feeling, understanding that the success of the team is more important than any one individual."
Cambridge boss Shaun Derry remained calm after seeing his team beaten for the second time in as many league games, having lost at Exeter last week.
"I think we've got to bring a little bit of perspective on affairs," he said. "Two games into the season and we've played a play-off finalist and a (team from the) play-off semi and lost by one goal. We very, very nearly could have got something out of the second game, just like last week.
"I'm not too sure Fordey (David Forde) had too many saves to make in the second half. There was one team who had a lot of territorial advantage and that was us.
"We're looking for a little bit of quality in the final third and for somebody to throw their hat on something in the 18-yard box and on a different day we could have got a goal.
"What I've just said to the players is stay focused. In terms of getting one-and-a-half games out of them, I was disappointed with the first half last week against Exeter, encouraged by the second half and this was a strong performance today."