Central Coast coach Graham Arnold hopes his players have now received the "kick up the backside" they needed as the club attempts to win their first A-League championship.
Arnold was scathing of his team's performance in Saturday night's 2-1 loss to Perth, labelling it as the worst he'd seen during his three-year tenure at the club.
The Mariners are now just one point clear of second-placed Western Sydney, and could be overhauled when the teams meet in a fortnight.
Central Coast are yet to win an A-League championship, despite twice claiming the Premiers' Plate and reaching three grand finals.
Arnold's team is well placed to break that title drought this season.
But the former Socceroos coach said his team couldn't afford to put in another performance like they did against Perth.
"It was probably the worst performance since I've been at the club," Arnold said.
"We were totally out-enthused and we were second to everything.
"If you have four or five players that have an off night, you get punished for it, and we got punished for it and got the kick up the backside that hopefully we need."
Arnold said he was unlikely to make any knee-jerk changes for Saturday night's clash with Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium.
"You don't punish people for one-off performances. You expect a reaction next week," Arnold said.
"We've still got our own destiny in our own hands."
Perth Glory remain four points adrift of the top six despite snapping a five-match losing run and ending a goal drought that had stretched to six and a half hours.
Bernie Ibini gave Central Coast the lead in the 13th minute, but goals either side of half-time to Travis Dodd and Shane Smeltz ensured new Glory coach Alistair Edwards started his tenure with a win.
Edwards, who replaced the sacked Ian Ferguson on Monday, hoped the confidence-boosting triumph over the league's best side would inspire a charge into the finals.
"When you've got belief in what you do, you can build on that," Edwards said ahead of Saturday night's away encounter against in-form Western Sydney.
"The guys in the room are extremely experienced and good players."