Rendani Ndou struck in second-half injury time to snatch a 2-1 victory for the hosts at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
“We played completely differently to the way we usually play, but I don’t want to blame the players now,” Papic said.
“One day you’re not going to play well, and one day you play fantastically and you don’t win.
“Today we won the match and got the three points, which is very important for us, and I think from these three points everything is going to change for this club.”
Polokwane continued their rise up the league table, climbing to fifth position after losing only one of their last 10 fixtures, but Papic hoped his side would stick to their regular style of play in their next game, a Nedbank Cup fixture against SuperSport United on February 25, after leaving it to the last minute against the Birds.
“The most important thing to anyone playing football is to play the way they want, and today we didn’t do that,” he said.
“I hope the next match will be better.”
Polokwane midfielder Cole Alexander, the Man of the Match, agreed with Papic that the home side had not been their usual selves.
“It was not one of our best games, but eventually we got the three points and that’s all that matters,” Alexander said.
Essau Kanyenda put the hosts in front with a superb diving header in the 10th minute, and Felix Obada equalised for the visitors in the second half, using his pace to beat two defenders and finding the back of the net.
With the match looking set to end in a draw, however, Ndou pounced on a loose ball after a goalmouth scramble and buried the winner.
Swallows coach Fani Madida shrugged off the defeat, as his side remained entrenched in 14th place on the log after going down in their 10th loss in 19 league games this season.
“I’m disappointed with the result but very happy with the performance,” Madida said.
“It was a very close game, we missed a lot of chances, and towards the end they came back, otherwise we were in control. It’s just an unfortunate one.”
Madida believed his team had learned a valuable lesson after giving away the match in the closing stages.
“When the ball is in the air you need to react and organise yourselves as defenders,” he said.
“We didn’t react, which is why they managed to get the ball after the goalkeeper (Greg Etafia) made a save.”
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