Ralph Hasenhuttl insisted it was time for Southampton to finally show their bottle after a gutsy point at Wolves.
Danny Ings struck his fifth goal in four games as the Saints ended their three-match Premier League losing streak with a 1-1 draw.
They sit 17th, above the bottom three on goal difference, having been thumped 4-1 by Chelsea last time out.
Raul Jimenez's penalty denied them victory but boss Hasenhuttl was pleased with the reaction at Molineux which stopped the rot.
He said: "You could feel it in the dressing room. Everyone knew it was time to show up.
"I know it was two difficult games we lost before (Tottenham and Chelsea) but we were very critical with ourselves and that is the right way to make something better. If you are not honest, it is difficult to improve.
"It was a step forward. We were more stabilised in this game, better organised with our shape.
"It absolutely helps morale. After the last three games, the situation is never easy."
The Saints needed VAR to rule out Jimenez's first-half strike, with Patrick Cutrone offside, while the former also had an earlier effort chalked off for handball.
"The VAR makes the game fairer. That's the positive thing of it," added Hasenhuttl.
"I know it's not always nice if you score a goal and have to wait. It's a mental boost for one team and a disaster for the other team. But it makes it fairer. The VAR did a good job."
Wolves grabbed a point after 61 minutes when Hojbjerg tripped Matt Doherty and Jimenez scored from the spot.
Jimenez's two disallowed efforts had added to Wolves' frustration but boss Nuno Espirito Santo remained pragmatic.
"We have to get used to VAR. It's fine margins. They are small details but they (VAR officials) are there to decide," he said.
"We celebrate then lose that, that is what's tough. The mood, it has a terrible impact and the other team celebrates. This is VAR and we have to get used to it.
"Every time the referee makes a signal for VAR, everybody is worried."