Mark Cooper reserved special praise for match-winner Carl Winchester after Forest Green’s 1-0 victory at Bolton.
The visitors’ skipper netted in the 50th minute with a low, right-foot shot from 30 yards.
Bolton’s defeat was their third in a row at home in eight days under new boss Ian Evatt.
But they were second best for long periods against opponents who were in the Southern Football League Midland Division when Wanderers last dropped into the fourth tier.
“He is too good for this division” said Cooper of his Northern Ireland midfielder after Forest Green atoned for defeats in the Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy.
“He should be playing in the Championship and I have said it for a long time.
“I don’t understand why no one has taken a gamble on him.
“But he is the leader, he is the captain and it was a great performance from him.”
On Forest Green’s victory in this first competitive fixture between the clubs he added: “There were a few people panicking after the first two games.
“But this was always the aim and the players were outstanding. There were some really good performances.
“Bolton are a good team with some good players. And for the first 20 minutes they were really good.
“But once we got to grips with them and grew into the match I thought we were really good.”
“The only disappointment was we didn’t get the second goal to make it a little more comfortable.
“The way we play we are going to make mistakes, so we needed a clean sheet to give the boys some positivity. The work was to be calm and assured defensively.”
Disappointed Evatt called Bolton’s latest loss “like Groundhog Day”.
“For too long this club has been used to losing matches” he said.
“It is a culture that needs to change. But we have 17-18 new players.
“And while I hate making excuses it is common sense to know we are not going to be fluid Brazil in the first week.
“So, we have to be patient and believe in the process. Things will change because we have some very good players.
“We are not far away and just need to knuckle down on the final detail.
“I think this is the game I have learned the most. We will know next Saturday if I am right or not.
“But in my own mind I can see clearly where it is wrong and I know how to fix it.”