Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook could not hide his pride – and relief – after a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship victory over high-flying West Brom ended an agonising two weeks.
The Latics had signed off for the international break with a dismal 4-0 drubbing at local rivals Preston and had been counting down the days before they could put things right.
A fine performance saw them go toe to toe with one of the favourites for promotion and Josh Windass stepped up with 16 minutes remaining to send Wigan back up to seventh in the table.
“I was just pleased with the performance first and foremost,” said Cook.
“No matter how a game goes, as a manager you’re far more interested in how your team performs.
“On the back of the international break – and our worst performance under me at Preston a fortnight ago – the lads have shown what they’re all about.
“That performance at Preston hurt them, it hurt me and it hurt the 4,000 travelling fans we had with us.
“But we’ve bounced back excellently and I thought we played well, everything about us,.
“The lads who came in to the team were excellent and I’m delighted with the win.
“We came up against a very strong West Brom side, who are in such a rich vein of form, free-scoring and capable of opening you up at will.
“But we defended really well, we were organised in what we wanted to do and we carried that threat up front as well.”
West Brom boss Darren Moore thought the game was going to peter out into a goalless draw before Windass struck, with the Baggies’ hopes of hitting back dashed by Jake Livermore’s dismissal for a second bookable offence with six minutes left.
“We’ve all seen the Championship for long enough to know those sort of games are lying in wait for you,” Moore said.
“And I’ve got absolutely no complaints on the day.
“It was a game where both teams were battling, not much goal action, whatever chances there were it was all off target.
“I’d imagine it looked to everyone like it was going to finish 0-0, but the big chance fell to them and the boy took it very, very well.”
Moore also had no immediate answer for his free-scoring side firing a rare blank.
“Sometimes in football you can’t quite put your finger on what’s gone wrong,” he added.
“For so many weeks now we’ve scored goals in the last 20 minutes, half-an-hour. But this time it just didn’t happen for us.
“I just think you have to give Wigan credit for the way they played and their game plan.
“We tried to come here and win a game, they tried to win the game, and the ball’s fallen to their lad once – and it didn’t for us.”