Steven Pressley felt Carlisle United’s victory against Swindon was the perfect way to start what he described as a “mini-league” at the business end of the League Two season.

The Blues’ 2-1 victory was their first win in six and saw them return to the play-off places.

Pressley conceded it was not a vintage display at times but the fact Carlisle found a way to win was testament to their character.

He also said his players’ mentality was strong after the recent tension which came as a result of their winless sequence.

“The players want to achieve, the staff want to achieve, the supporters want to achieve – we all do,” United’s manager said.

“There’s a build-up of frustration when we’re not quite getting the results. The most important thing was to get back to winning ways and we did that.

“As a staff we spoke about it in our meeting [last] Monday that we had 11 games; almost a mini-league for us. Now it’s 10 [to go], with one win.

“We’ve got to keep focusing on the next game and winning the next game. And however we do that, at this stage of the season, the business end, it doesn’t matter.

“I like my teams to play a certain style of football but sometimes if we don’t get that fast-flowing football you just have to find a way to win.”

Pressley saw January signings Nathan Thomas and Callum O’Hare at the heart of Carlisle’s 79th-minute winner, scored by Aston Villa loanee O’Hare.

The manager also, though, said the outcome was a good reward for those players who have been here for the full campaign.

“We’ve got to respect the players that have been here, that got the club into this position,” he said. “We can never lose sight of that.

“I understand that new players came in [in January], but we also have to understand many of these players have played a lot of games and have been the reason we are where we are.

“I’m delighted for Callum, and I’m also pleased for our senior players, and those who have been here, that we’ve got back to winning ways.”

O’Hare’s second-half strike was his first senior goal and the 20-year-old was also named man-of-the-match.

Pressley said: “He’s an infectious player, who will get people off their seats. He’s very positive, everything he does he tries to be positive with it. He was a real stand-out for us.

“I can see what [the goal] meant to Callum. He’s contributed to a number of assists but it was a great finish. He was unlucky on a number of occasions but I do think he was excellent in the game.

“The kid’s really been performing well for us. He’s the high-energy type of player I like to see. We lost [Jack] Sowerby back to Fleetwood, which was a blow in terms of his contribution with goals. One area we’ve been lacking of late has been goals, that’s why it’s important we get goals from all areas.

“He [O’Hare] is a player that’s more than capable of scoring, so I’m really pleased for him.”

United’s boss said his side started the game well but found it harder going either side of half-time, before a positive finish.

“It wasn’t vintage football from us, but we showed a determination and a mentality that you need at periods like this in the season,” he said.

“We actually started the game very well. The opening 25 minutes we dominated and forced them into making a tactical change from their normal system into a 4-2-3-1, and [they] tried to pressurise us higher, to deny us control of the game.

“At that point we didn’t really recognise on the field that it was a time we needed to use the out-ball in behind them, which we’d worked on as a good option.

“Those things changed the flow of the game in the first half. I thought we stopped passing the ball and lost a bit of belief. When you’re on a little wobble like we were, it sometimes happens.

“From a defensive point of view I don’t think Collo [Adam Collin] had a save to make in the first half yet we found ourselves going in 1-1 which was a bit of a hammer blow.

“It wasn’t as strong a second half in my opinion, but we showed a good mentality.”

After Hallam Hope opened the scoring, Kyle Bennett equalised for Swindon with a free-kick which followed a rash foul by defender Gary Liddle.

Pressley said: “I think it was a foul that we felt was unnecessary, [but] it was a great finish. It really was their only one opportunity in the first half. I cant recall Coll having any other saves to really make apart from a couple of corners and taking them.

“I thought we were quite assured. It was disappointing and when you’re 1-0 up and then they equalise, that also brings the edginess.”

Liddle then thought he had restored United’s lead when he headed home a Jamie Devitt free-kick, only for the offside flag to intervene.

“I didn’t see it,” Pressley said. “All I did was turn away and start jumping about, then looked back round and the linesman had his flag up.”

Pressley also said he hopes United’s players can continue showing they can handle the pressure of remaining firmly in the promotion race.

He said he could “feel the tension in the stadium” at times and reminded his team to make the most of their situation.

“I spoke to them at half-time, and said the psychological aspect’s probably the most important aspect just now,” he added.

“There’s an expectation and a tension. There was a tension in our play, I could see that. If you’re gonna achieve anything, you’ve got to manage that part of it. That’s what separates many teams – those that can manage the pressure. We managed to get through that.

“I also reminded them it’s a great pressure to have when you’re challenging at the top end of the league. It’s a pressure you want. It’s a much better pressure than avoiding relegation, trust me on that. They should enjoy and embrace these periods; they’re great periods in a footballer’s life.

“When you sometimes don’t play so well, the mark of a good team is to win. It wasn’t an easy game for us but the players got through it.

“We can now go into the Notts County game [on Tuesday night] in a much better frame of mind.”