EMMERSON Boyce believes the weekend win over Blackburn shows Latics are finally grasping how to see out close games.
Going into the weekend, Latics had dropped 10 points from winning positions in the Premier League this term.
That has been the difference between Wigan sitting comfortably in the top 10, as opposed to their current position in the drop zone.
Thankfully, Wigan were able to hang on to their latest lead to see off Blackburn by the odd goal in seven, holding out despite a concerted push from the visitors in the last 10 minutes
“It was a hard-fought victory, and one we needed,” Boyce told the Evening Post.
“The end of the game was a bit nervous, but thankfully we have learned our lessons from earlier in the season and we were able to hang on for the win.
“Slowly but surely we’re learning. Against West Brom last week, we got deeper and deeper in the second half and in the end the pressure told.
“This time we kept a high line and, even though they chucked Christopher Samba up at the end, we defended well.”
The one blot on Boyce’s copybook in an otherwise fine display came when he conceded a late penalty that allowed David Dunn to reduce the arrears to a single goal, but the right-back believes anything other than three points would have been a travesty of justice.
On the penalty, he added: “I had no complaints. Dunn touched the ball and I took him out. Thankfully it didn’t cost us at the end.
“I don’t know where those five minutes of injury time came from at the end, though!
“But it shows the character in the team that we were able to dig in there and fight for what we have.
“We’d have maybe crumbled in the past in that sort of game and conceded more goals, but this time we held firm and got the goals at exactly the right time.
“Hopefully that will stand us in good stead for the battle ahead.”
Boyce showed there is more to his game than just defending with a nice assist for the opening goal scored by James McCarthy, who followed up after Paul Robinson could only parry the full-back’s shot.
“I don’t know what I was doing there, the manager was probably pulling his hair out when he saw me but sometimes you have to take risks and it paid off,” Boyce smiled.
“The keeper did well to get down but thankfully James was on hand to put it away.
“He’s a great player and he did great to follow it in. And it’s a massive plus to have him back in the team.
“The win takes some of the pressure off but we have such a hard run coming up and we’ll need all the points we can get.
“Four points from the last two games is a decent return, and hopefully we can keep that going until the end of the season.”
James McCarthy has withdrawn from the Irish squad for tonight’s Carling Nations Cup opener against Wales due to tiredness.
Steven Caldwell and James McArthur have been called up by Scotland for their match with Northern Ireland after a couple of withdrawals including Gary Caldwell.