NIKOLAI Topor-Stanley would "be lying" if he suggested the Jets' spirited win over Western United hadn't lifted a weight off the players' shoulders.
But the no-nonsense stopper was quick to point out that, while satisfying, the 1-0 result was not the blueprint for success.
The Jets host Western Sydney at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday and Topor-Stanley is after a more complete performance.
"You have to learn from every game, regardless of the scoreline, regardless of where you are on the table," Topor-Stanley said. "Every game, every day on the training pitch is an opportunity to move forward. Wanderers have started off the season with plenty of momentum. I have said this from probably my first game in the A-League: 'there are no easy games'."
After creating a host of chances and converting one, through Angus Thurgate, in the first half against Western United, the Jets were under enormous pressure in the second but managed to hang on.
"We have to be able change that momentum in games and keep creating chances, like we did in the first half," Topor-Stanley said. "We had a great first half and created numerous chances. Second 45, we got ourselves into a position where we were basically camped in our own half.
"Our job is to defend as a team. But we don't want to be in that position every week. We want to be playing attacking football and dominating other teams.
"Of course, teams will have periods, but as a group we all agreed that in the second half, we didn't play to our ability and let them into the game."
The win, the Jets' first in five games this campaign, moved them to five points.
Asked if the three points was a relief, Topor-Stanley said: "I'd be lying if I said no. Bar the Sydney game - which we didn't deserve to be in at all - we have been in every single game. We have had moments, we have created things and, for one reason or another, it hasn't turned out. It could be a different story if those moments had gone our way. We could be talking about a great start to the season.
"In my experience, that is the difference between finishing in the top three and being outside the top six. There are small moments in games which can change your fortune. Those are the things we have to identify and take the opportunities when they are in front of us."
With regular skipper Nigel Boogaard hampered by a groin issue, Topor-Stanley is set to wear the armband again on Saturday.
"To be given the captain's armband for any team is an honour," he said. "It is a huge responsibility."
The veteran will also continue his partnership in the heart of defence with Lachy Jackson, who hasn't missed a beat in two games covering for Boogaard.
"Without taking away from Lachy, that is his job. He has to be ready to play," Topor-Stanley said. "I don't take my position for granted either. We are all competing for places and be ready to put our best foot forward to help the team out. He has done his job so far."