John van't Schip stopped short of heralding his side's 1-0 win over Sydney FC as season defining but was clearly a relieved man after Melbourne City FC overcame their recent poor away record on Friday night.
City were winless in their last five away games, losing and failing to score in four but picked up an invaluable three points against the form side of the competition at Allianz Stadium to consolidate their finals hopes.
WRAP: Sydney FC 0 Melbourne City FC 1
“I think every win is good of course,” van't Schip told reporters after the match. “We all know that there are certain games that we didn't win that we maybe should've and today was an important game.
“If you want to achieve something (in the finals) then we knew this was a must-win game.
“In the end we managed to score with a good goal from James Brown and I think the boys deserved it.”
Van't Schip was happy for his striker after Brown's maiden Melbourne City goal helped his side move five points clear of Brisbane Roar in the race for sixth spot.
“Of course every player has his story this year, (Brown) has not had a consistent season as everybody knows.
“It was James' turn, he was fit, he trained hard and he was ready which is important because he has been out for a long time. It was important he was ready to help us today.”
The City boss was already looking ahead to next week's pivotal clash against the reigning Champions as his team goes in search of three wins on the trot.
“We're in a good place because we're still there and we get Brisbane next week and that's going to be a very important game of course. It's a six pointer.
“They have games in hand but we have everything in our own hands as well and so it's up to us.
“We have to be prepared and fight till the end like we did today and at least show the passion and hard work – that's the least you can do.
“We have enough quality that we can create chances. It happened today and it will happen hopefully next week as well.”