They just scraped through, but Kevin Muscat couldn't be happier to get the monkey off Melbourne Victory's back.
With Victory's narrow 1-0 triumph over Newcastle on Sunday came sweet relief for the coach and his reigning A-League champions, who have finally put five frustrating winless games behind them and resuscitated their premiership aspirations.
In the process they also snapped a Hunter Stadium jinx that stretched back to 2009.
The football wasn't particularly pretty, nor was it always effective.
But none of it mattered once Kosta Barbarouses had supplied Fahid Ben Khalfallah to put away an impressive goal in the 71st minute.
Muscat openly admitted his out-of-sorts team had been preoccupied with themselves throughout an edgy week, and felt the win was a good starting point for longer-term revival.
"We thoroughly deserved tonight," he said.
"We persisted in what we believe in, and in the end it was enough to reward us with a number of opportunities and three points.
"So we'll take that and go back to Melbourne and reassess."
Muscat said Besart Berisha's on-field behaviour epitomised the unease that has recently held the playing group hostage.
The polarising Albanian striker grew visibly and increasingly agitated as the match went on, mouthing off in all directions and eliciting boos from the crowd.
"It happens in situations when there's a clear determination to win and get a result," Muscat said.
"He's an emotional guy, and he worked just as hard as anyone on that pitch tonight, so it's a little bit of frustration.
"It's been a nervy last couple of games."
After the last month's testing schedule of mostly away matches took its toll, the coach was looking forward to playing the next three in Victoria, starting with last-placed Central Coast at Geelong's Simonds Stadium before more testing battles with new leaders Brisbane and Sydney FC.
They have some catching up to do, on 20 points and seven points adrift of the Roar and Western Sydney.
Archie Thompson should be back for more having made his first start of the season after two substitute appearances.
His fatigue when subbed off on 67 minutes indicated there is still a way to go fitness wise.
"Obviously he hasn't played for quite a while and he needed those minutes," Muscat said.
"He'll get better as weeks go by."