Manuel Pellegrini had nothing but praise for his Manchester City players after they ended a difficult week by condemning Everton to a first Premier League defeat of the season on Saturday.
City had lost their previous league match at Aston Villa before suffering midweek disappointment at home to Champions League holders Bayern Munich, when Joe Hart drew criticism for an error-strewn performance.
And things appeared to be getting worse for Hart as he failed to keep out Romelu Lukaku's opener at the Etihad, before Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero helped City recover to claim the three points with a 3-1 win -- much to Pellegrini's delight.
"We really needed this victory because at the start of the game we were five points behind Arsenal and it is important to continue wining here at home," he told BBC Sport.
"Equalising immediately was important but more important was the character of the team, playing against Everton -- the only unbeaten team in the league. After a defeat on Wednesday, it was important for me to see how the players reacted after that defeat."
Aguero was involved in City's third goal as his penalty was pushed onto the post by Tim Howard, only for the ball to rebound back off the goalkeeper and into the net.
Seamus Coleman had pulled down Pablo Zabaleta for the foul, which left Everton boss Roberto Martinez seething after a similar appeal was turned down when Lukaku was pushed in the back by Matija Nastasic early in the first half.
"I thought the penalty awarded was a football disaster," Martinez said. "[Referee] Jon Moss needs to watch it again and see why he gave it. Contact doesn't mean a penalty. If you are going to give a penalty for that it is going to make the game very difficult. Romelu's is more of a penalty.
"We made it a really open game and to score the first goal was important. Then you have to be very superior when the calls are not going for you. Unfortunately, on the day, we didn't have that luck that we needed."