This weekend's third and final Test in Johannesburg is an opportunity for O'Connell's men to salvage something from the Castle Lager Series and head home with their heads held high.
Having lost the series on a margin of eight points over two games, the Munster and Ireland legend believes his team have earned the right to win one game - and he will be calling on all the passion and emotion he can find to make it happen.
"I'm proud of how the lads performed over the past two weeks and I think we were very unlucky. That just gives us some positivity to take into the third Test," said O'Connell, who has now played five Tests for the Lions without tasting victory.
"We can't escape from the fact we are going into the game 2-0 down in the series, and that's disappointing because we came here to win. I believe we can replicate the passion and intensity of Loftus Versfeld once again and we are certainly enthusiastic to do that.
"There isn't everything riding on the fixture as there was last weekend, but it's another chance to wear the Lions Test jersey We all want to win in the Lions jersey and there is a massive respect within the squad for what the Lions means.
"For me and a lot of the guys, passion and emotion still plays a massive part in the game and we'll be looking to bring everything we can to the last Test. We are eager to prove ourselves because we don't believe that being 2-0 down is a true reflection of where we are as a team."
O'Connell feels the two day break the Lions were given to get over the disappointment of losing to that last minute kick from Morne Steyn has helped them to recharge their batteries ahead of the game at Coca Cola Park this weekend.
"When you lose big games it's always difficult because we're here to win and achieve things in our career. But all you can do is pick yourself up and the best thing is to have a game a week later to get it out of your system," added O'Connell.
"The lads had a few beers, went on a two day safari or a township visit to get last weekend's game out of their system. They were eager in training this morning and we're ready to go this weekend.
"For some guys it maybe the last chance to pull on the Lions jersey, or even the first and only time for others, so we're all eager to perform and get that Test victory under our belts. I believe we've been good enough."