Despite trailing in the possession statistics, Wales held off the challenge from visiting England to record a 19-9 victory in the World Cup warm-up fixture.
"In terms of commitment I cannot fault the players, they were absolutely tremendous," Gatland told Sky Sports News.
"I thought as the game went on we looked very strong. Today was not about pretty rugby, it was about showing character.
"That's the message I want to get out to the public."
Fly-half James Hook top scored for the Welsh, claiming 13 points.