A delighted David Unsworth watched Everton come from 2-0 down to defeat Watford at Goodison Park and declared: “This has to kick-start our season”.
The Blues trailed less than a minute into the second half when Richarlison rounded Jordan Pickford to open the scoring.
Christian Kabasele then headed in from a 64th-minute corner to leave Everton staring at a ninth straight game without victory.
But goals from Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Leighton Baines in the final 26 minutes swung it dramatically for the hosts.
There was still time in 12 minutes added on for stoppages - largely a result of a head injury to Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes - for former Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley to spurn the chance to level by steering his penalty wide after Pickford had fouled Richarlison.
Victory saw the Toffees climb out of the relegation zone and up to 15th in the Premier League standings.
And an ecstatic Unsworth revealed: “I’ve said to the players after the game, this must kick start them. This must instil some confidence and belief moving forwards.
“Playing like that on the front foot and working so hard, crossing the ball, having attempts on goal, and really just going for it, particularly here at Goodison, is the way I think you should play.
“And I hope that instils the confidence and belief in the players.
“The table looks a lot better tonight that it did before the game, so that that should instil a bit of confidence, too.
“Confidence is key. It’s a word that gets bandied around in football all the time but it’s true - as a player, when you’re playing full of confidence, you feel unstoppable. Hopefully that’s the start of a good run for us now.”
Unsworth’s three substitutions all had a direct impact on the game as first Ademola Lookman laid on man of the match Niasse to reduce the deficit.
Calvert-Lewin then grabbed his first Premier League goal of the campaign six minutes after replacing Wayne Rooney, before Aaron Lennon won the penalty from which Baines dispatched his 91st-minute winner.
“It’s always nice as a coach and a manager when you make substitutions, you try to be positive and you come back from what looks like a desperate situation. The substitutes played their part and it’s always great to see that.
“But I’m just absolutely delighted for the Club that we’ve got the win.
“I didn’t expect the second half to pan out quite like it did, and it was a case of mixed emotions but also the incredible spirit this Club lives and dies on.
“What we did was we kept going and we kept working, kept running and we never gave in.
“I thought the fans were brilliant at 2-0 down - they stuck with us. We got a foothold back in the game through Oumar, and from then we played on the front foot, we created opportunities, got it level and, if anybody is going to score a penalty in the final minute, it’s Leighton.
“We then get that bit of luck that our performances maybe haven’t had over the period [with the Watford penalty miss] and that could turn our season around.
“You always need a bit of luck and I thought our work rate got us that.
“What we gave in the second half was what I would consider an “Everton” performance - full of heart and character and desire.
“I’m proud of the players, proud of the fans and happy that we could get a win that was much needed.”