British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland admitted he had endured a tough few days ahead of clinching the series in Australia with an emphatic 41-16 win in Syndey.
Much of the pre-match analysis had centred around the omission of Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll but the tourists shrugged off the controversy to claim a first series win in 16 years in style.
Gatland said afterwards: "The last three or four days have been very, very hard. I had to make a tough decision on Thursday in leaving Brian out. You always doubt decisions but you have to make those hard calls sometimes.
"We said 'look, there's going to be a significant amount of fall-out for that and are we prepared to take the flak?' I've taken quite a bit of flak and I don't want to gloat or feel vindicated. It was about the boys today.
"It was an outstanding performance. We started well, came under some pressure and bounced back again. I said all along that Australia were desperate last week and they brought all their emotion. We felt there was another step up we could bring and we showed that tonight.
"We scored some fantastic tries - the four tries tonight. I thought Alex Corbisiero was man of the match and the guys deserve a lot of credit."
O'Driscoll might not have featured in Sydney but was delighted to finally experience a series victory on his fourth tour.
"I'm absolutely delighted," he said. "It's been a rollercoaster week for me, and it was emotional sitting through today and not being there, but essentially it's about winning a series and being a part of that.
"I will always have it on my CV and that's what counts.
"It's been a great tour. We've gelled well as a team but in the end it comes down to results.
"We've won the series and any negatives that were felt through the tour will be forgotten."