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8 December 2012

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Chesterfield manager Paul Cook was quick to play down his side's comprehensive 2-0 victory against Micky Adams' high-flying Port Vale on Saturday afternoon, insisting his side will already be relishing the visit of Burton Albion in seven days time.

The Spireites put in one of, if not their most imperious display of the campaign so far, as goals from Jay O'Shea and Tendayi Darikwa inflicted the Valiants' third successive defeat.

The MK Dons midfielder was ineligible for last week's 2-1 defeat against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup and has been named as a substitute since making the switch from Stadium MK, but he proved that good things certainly come to those who wait with a sublime debut performance.

The Irishman gave the visitors the lead eight minutes shy of the break, after he latched onto Marc Richards' ball and bundled his way past two Vale defender before sliding past the helpless Chris Neal.

Richards impressed throughout with an industrious performance on his return to Burslem and he turned provider once again, when his deflecting cross was met by Tendayi Darikwa's thumping header.

But the Liverpudlian, who has seen his side put four wins on the bounce together, was quick to keep his charges grounded.

"It's just the next one for me, you know what i'm like!" He told the club's media staff at full-time.

"I've been around long enough to know a week is a long time in football. Today we were very good, we played very well but now we move on. We have been brilliant, I told the lads they were a credit to the club. We had great support and we go home very happy today.

"We had a good training week this week, we had an empty week but the lads trained well," he added.

"Especially on the back of going out of the FA Cup, which we were disappointed with. But to come here to a team that are where they are in the league, and play as well as we did, is a credit to every player who was involved.

"I've always had a philosophy as a manager not without fear, but respect for the opposition. Port Vale are a very good team with players in certain areas that can hurt you but so have we. Today we came to give Port Vale an open game and go end-to-end and it is what we planned. 

"The game plan wasn't to come for a 0-0 and today we defended well. That is pleasing that we had good players in those areas and going forward we had some very good, effective players."

The Spireites dominated possession from the first minute to the last, with 30-year-old striker Marc Richards providing the likes of O'Shea, Mark Randall and Luis Boa Morte the perfect opportunity to roam free in Stoke-on-Trent and cause havoc amongst the hosts' back line.

But following perhaps his side's strongest display of the season, the former Accrington boss is urging more from his players as they welcome Gary Rowett's Burton Albion next Saturday.

"He [Jay O'Shea] did alright, he did okay. But he won't get carried away," Cookie added.

"Danny Whitaker was excellent as well when he came on and that is pleasing. It's not about the players who played well, but the ones who weren't involved. It's important I get an ethic at this club where we're all in it together, it's vital for us to go forward.

"Today Jay O'Shea was good, so was Tommy Lee, so was Tendayi and so was everyone else in the team. The pleasing thing is that we came here and won, we'll take the plaudits but we move on.

"I think we can do better, at times we gave the ball away too cheaply and that's not a criticism. It's knowing when to probe, it's something we're working on in training. 

"Defending is about keeping the ball sometimes and allowing defenders to get set up, but if you keep giving the ball away like at Bristol Rovers, then it becomes end-to-end and anyone can win.

"We'll turn our focuses to Burton Albion now. We'll respect them as a team, they are having a fantastic season. But we're a good side, make no bones about that. We're a good side."

You can watch Cookie's interview in full exclusively on Spireites Player.

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