Chris Eagles scored the only goal of the game in the second half to boost the Trotters' playoff hopes.
"It was a major victory," Freedman told reporters. "Because I felt you saw a group of players put their bodies on the line at the end of the match.
"As a player for 20-odd years, and now as a coach, I understand it's the best quality to have at this time of the season, the qualities that you saw in the last 10 or 15 minutes."
Bolton are now eighth in the Championship, four points adrift of the playoff places.