SYDNEY FC coach Frank Farina admitted he would have settled for a draw before Serb super sub Ranko Despotovic stepped up to claim the latest of winners in the 2-1 victory over Wellington at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Just five days after leaving the cold of Europe of Sydney, Despotovic slotted home the crucial goal in the 94th minute to kill off the brave Phoenix and sweep the Sky Blues to third position on the A-League table.
The hosts were forced to play the final 20 minutes a man down after Pedj Bojic was sent off for a second bookable offence and were hanging on for dear life when Wellington equalised a minute into time added on.
"We defended so well until the 91st minute so when the (Wellington) goal went in I would have settled for a draw," Farina said.
"But that's the mentality you've got to have as a club and a team ... to know that you're never finished and you've got to keep going until the 94th minute.
"That mentality is very strong within the group and getting stronger.
"To snatch it at the end like we did was satisfying.
"It wasn't the prettiest of wins but we got the three points. We'll take it."
Farina smiled at the irony of guiding the club to its first hat-trick of wins in four years just weeks after he was supposedly headed for the guillotine.
He said: "Everyone takes turns (in copping criticism) and I had my turn three weeks ago and it may come again in another three weeks.
"Three wins in a row is nice but four in a row would be even nicer."
Farina's gamble in playing Despotovic off the bench despite the Serb only just arriving paid off handsomely.
The former international showed great composure to roll Seb Ryall's cross home to begin his new career in perfect fashion.
"You can never give up and my colleagues did that in the last minute and I had the good luck to score the goal," Despotovic said.
"It's fantastic to win three games in a row. I'm just here five days and had troubles with jetlag and am getting to know the club and players, so I need to keep working hard."