Coach Ante Milicic has labelled Macarthur FC's gritty win over Melbourne Victory "massive" as the Bulls attempt to kickstart their charge towards a maiden A-League finals campaign.
Macarthur were coming off a five-game winless run but snuck up to third on the table - though other teams have games in hand - with their gritty 2-1 win over a wasteful Victory on Thursday night.
"We needed to win tonight, we've got Victory again next Friday at home - we need to win, and then we'll worry about the next one," Milicic said.
"We went to Perth the other day without our five starters and we got a point - that's a big point. The week before, we (got and) deserved a point against Melbourne City at Campbelltown.
"So we're getting there slowly but you need to get those draws turning into wins. That's why tonight gives me so much pleasure, because I know we can play better."
Victory have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence under interim boss Steve Kean and Milicic relished Macarthur's spirited comeback.
"Sydney had a tough game (a 1-0 win) against Victory a couple of weeks ago in Sydney, Central Coast from 1-0 up, went home with a point (but) we go 1-0 down, we score two, we take three (points). It's massive for us," he said.
"So that's the pleasing thing: that we're not at our best, but our players today found a way to win -and that's what you need."
Milicic said Macarthur had clearly flagged without Susaeta (leg injury) and Ivan Franjic (calf) in their winless run.
But he relished a grittier performance without Franjic, Denis Genreau (suspended) plus long-term absentees Tommy Oar and Aleksandar Jovanovic - and expected more improvement as his returning players gained form and fitness.
"All teams miss their stronger players, that's just the A-League," Milicic said.
"It's just (about) how can you get through those periods.
"We're going through that period at the moment, but hopefully now we're getting some of those players back, fit and in form."
Susaeta scored a goal and enjoying a lively return from injury - and Milicic expected more to come from the former Athletic Bilbao winger.
"What 'Susa' does for us is he gives us that calmness and that quality and we can talk about his goal but also he lifts the others," Milicic said.
"Benat (Etxebarria) is a different players with 'Susa' on the field - and that's normal, but our plan was always for him to play 60 tonight."