EMMERSON Boyce believes the visit of Newcastle United this weekend will bring out the best in Wigan Athletic.
Latics surrendered their recent hot streak – four wins from their last five games – with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Fulham.
After deserved victories over Manchester United and Arsenal, there was a significant drop in performance levels across the board.
The defeat leaves Wigan just three points ahead of the drop zone with three games to play.
And Boyce – who notched his first goal of the campaign at Craven Cottage – insists it’s imperative Latics get back on the horse as quickly as possible.
“Having beaten Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal in recent weeks, maybe Newcastle will suit us better,” Boyce told the Evening Post.
“No disrespect to Fulham, but maybe we weren’t at it as much on Saturday as we should have been.
“You don’t need to get up for games against the big teams – there was no pressure on us to perform and that suits us down to the ground.
“Maybe the big teams didn’t respect us as much as they could have done, and you’ve seen what can happen.
“I don’t know, maybe we did the same to Fulham subconsciously and we’ve paid the penalty.
“Given our recent run of results, we should have gone there and got at least a point, but fair play to them.
“We know Newcastle will come at us with all guns blazing, and hopefully this can act as a wake-up call for us.”
Latics will be looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat on Tyneside at the beginning of the season, although they’ll have to be on their guard against a side who won by the same score in the corresponding fixture last term.
“Newcastle are a good team, but we are at home and if we can play to our capabilities then we can win,” he added.
“They’ll need the points themselves because they’re going for the top four, so it should be a cracking game.
“It’s be a massive week for us in training, because we know we’ve set the standard for ourselves and we didn’t live up to that at Fulham.
“It’s not all doom and gloom though. If you look at the table we’re still in a great position to be able to kick on and finish the season well.”
Boyce admitted Wigan’s recent gruelling schedule had played a huge factor in their below-par display at Craven Cottage.
“It just seemed a bit flat, right from the off,” Boyce acknowleded.
“The manager wanted us to pass the ball around a lot quicker, but the number of games we’ve played recently must have caught up with us.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t have played like we had in previous games because it was a huge chance to pick up points.
“We had a lot of the ball in the first half but we didn’t do anything with it – we never really hurt them.
“In the second half we couldn’t impose ourselves at all, and that’s probably the most disappointing thing.”