JAMES McClean says Wigan Athletic have finally set themselves a standard that they must not drop below.
The Irishman was the two-goal hero from Saturday’s 2-1 win at table-topping Derby, emerging off the bench on the hour mark to turn the game completely on its head.
It was McClean’s first club goals of an injury-affected campaign, and he has urged his colleagues to use the win as a catalyst to reignite their play-off push.
“It was nice to get off the mark for the season, especially with it helping to end our bad run,” McClean said.
“I was obviously frustrated to be on the bench to start with, so it was a nice way to prove a point.
“In previous games it’s not quite fallen for me so it was nice to go my way for a change.”
McClean had last week called on Latics to ‘stand up and be counted’ after a below-par start to the season – a message they appear to have heeded.
“We’ve let the fans down a lot this season if we’re being honest, especially on the road,” he acknowledged.
“It’s important for them to know how much we appreciate their support and it was nice to be able to celebrate in front of them at the end.
“It would have been easy for them to go into their shell when we went 1-0 down, and think ‘here we go again’.
“But they didn’t do that, they continued to back us and they got their reward.”
Despite their slow start, Latics are just eight points off the top-six with 32 matches still remaining.
However, McClean does not subscribe to the theory they deserve to be higher than they are.
“I don’t think we’re in a false position in the table,” he added.
“We’re in the position we are in the league because we haven’t been good enough this season.
“We showed on Saturday that we can be a match for any side if we play to our capabilities.
“Derby are top of the table but we’ve got just as much quality and Premier League experience if not more so.
“There’s no reason why we can’t put together a run now and move up the league.
“We need to build on the Derby game and take heart from it, and not undo all the good work when Fulham come here on Saturday.
“They’re on a bit of a revival, but we’re at home and it’s up to us to try to break them down.”