The heroics of his men delight Ferguson, who did not hold back his praise after a memorable extra-time win
Perth Glory are now just one step away from a maiden A-League grand final appearance, and coach Ian Ferguson believes it is his players' character that got them there.
The Glory won a 3-2 extra-time thriller against the Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, having earlier trailed 2-1 with 18 minutes of normal time remaining.
But Billy Mehmet's equaliser sent the game to extra time, and Todd Howarth's 112th-minute winner delighted a parochial home crowd at nib Stadium.
The Glory will now face the loser of the major semi-final between the Central Coast Mariners and the Brisbane Roar in he preliminary final for a chance to reach the decider, in what would be Perth's first appearance in a decider since the winning the 2004 National Soccer League title.
"I thought the character was tremendous," Ferguson said.
"We go one up and then we get in at half-time but then for 10 minutes in the second half we didn't turn up and Wellington got two goals. That's where the character comes in... then momentum carried us through.
"It's like a rollercoaster... but when we got that equaliser it was euphoria and then brilliant when we got the winner.
"It's one game at a time. I'm not going to start shouting that we're going to be in the grand final or we're going to win the grand final. It's an opportunity for us and it's great motivation."
Man-of-the-moment Howarth could not hide his delight at his contribution, having only come into the game as a 80th-minute substitute for Andrezinho.
Howarth's future at the club past the 2011-12 season is unclear as he is yet to have been offered an extension on his expiring contract, but the 30-year-old midfielder did his chances no harm with his winner.
"It's definitely the best moment [of my career]. Scoring in a final is an awesome feeling," he said.