Gary Caldwell hailed the ‘incredible mentality’ and ‘excellent performance’ of his Wigan Athletic side - despite seeing them fall to a fourth successive defeat at Norwich.
Two goals from Jacob Murphy - the first after picking the pocket of goalkeeper Adam Bogdan on the edge of the six-yard box - inside the first 10 minutes meant it was always going to be an uphill struggle at Carrow Road.
Jordi Gomez’s goal just after the three-quarter mark gave Latics renewed hope, but they couldn’t force an equaliser in a one-sided last 20 minutes.
The result leaves Latics second-bottom of the Championship - but Caldwell far from deflated.
“I thought it was an excellent performance for 90 minutes to be honest,” the Latics boss acknowledged.
“I take full responsibility for the first goal - I ask the team to play that way, and you’re going to make mistakes at times.
“We obviously got punished heavily for it, but the mentality we showed - to keep doing what we want to do as a team, and dominate a Premier League team - having given them a two-goal start, was incredible.
“I was proud of the team, and the mentality they showed to get something out of the game.
“They’ve got some great players going forward and they’re a big threat.
“But if we’d come in at half-time level at 0-0 we’d probably have been disappointed.
“The trouble is we came in at 2-0 down, and we had to chase the game against a team that was in the Premier League last season.
“But we should have got a point - and probably all three.”
Caldwell was also furious at referee Keith Stroud for not pointing to the penalty spot on the half-hour mark when Will Grigg looked to be fouled in the box by Timm Klose.
“It was a penalty,” Caldwell insisted. “Straight away I thought it was a penalty, and I’ve also seen it back and it was a penalty.
“The ref gave a lot of decisions...you’re going to get that, coming to a big stadium, but the ref needs to be stronger.
“It’s a stonewall penalty, but I can’t blame the ref.
“I have to look at my team’s performance, and I thought we were excellent.”
Wigan’s rousing finish to the game was inspired by the introduction off the bench of Yanic Wildschut and Nathan Byrne, who was making his debut after his recent arrival from Wolves.
“Nathan’s a fantastic player, that’s why we signed him,” Caldwell enthused.
“He’s had a disrupted pre-season, he didn’t get a lot of games at Wolves, so we’ve had to reluctantly hold him back.
“We’ve seen progress from him in training, and tonight we saw the threat he can give.
“With Yanic on the other side, with the possession we get, and the wide people we have to create one-v-ones, it’s going to be a tough time for full-backs to play against us.”