Hayden Mullins praised the character of his Colchester players after they came from behind to beat Walsall 2-1 and boost their survival hopes.
Walsall had taken a 20th-minute lead when defender James Clarke netted at the far post after Caolan Lavery had helped on Tyreik Wright’s corner.
But the U’s equalised in the 37th minute through Michael Folivi, who stabbed in from close range after Frank Nouble’s effort had hit a post following good play by Tom Eastman.
And Colchester’s winner came in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time from Ryan Clampin’s left-footed volley after a clearance had fallen to him on the edge of the area.
Colchester are six points above the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone with four games remaining and interim boss Mullins was delighted with their attitude.
He said: “Everyone is delighted and it’s been a long time coming.
“The most pleasing part for me was the way we started the game was very bright.
“We had a great chance and hit the post and then went a goal down but to show the character and the desire and the energy to come back from a goal down was fantastic and that was the most pleasing part of the day for me.
“We spoke about being bright and having the confidence to go out and attack the game today and I think we did that.
“We got done by a set-play which was a sucker punch but we created enough chances today and we looked bright on the counter-attack.
“At the end when they were putting us under a lot of pressure, we still had a little bit of control, so it was really pleasing for me today.”
Walsall suffered a first defeat in seven matches and boss Brian Dutton admitted they were not at their best.
Dutton said: “It was a bit flat today.
“The lads have had to go back to the well again and try and put in another performance like they did in the last two games but we didn’t see that today.
“We saw a flat performance and there was a lack of intensity and a lack of energy and a lack of spirit which is disappointing.
“But I must cut them a little bit of slack because if you’d offered me two points per game this week, I’d have probably taken it at the beginning of the week.
“It’s a little bit of a sour and bitter ending to the week but the week on the whole has been a positive week.
“I’ve mentioned it many times since I’ve been at the football club – there’s a poor mentality running through the football club where we apologise for scoring a goal and it’s got to change.”