SHAUN Wane dismissed any concerns about Wigan’s form as “pure rubbish” - and remains confident his side can mount a serious tilt at a silverware double.
The Challenge Cup winners head into the play-offs next week on the back of a fourth Super League defeat in a row after Leeds swept to a 20-6 triumph last night.
It ensured Wigan, the early-season pace setters, finished the regular campaign in fourth position - and hands them a trip to league leaders Huddersfield next Thursday in the opening round of the play-offs.
Win, and they will earn a home semi-final - while a defeat would hand them a second chance the following week, also at the DW.
Wane said: “I’m not concerned at all. The players can do it, they’ve done it in the past - all that talk about being concerned is pure rubbish to me.
“We weren’t at our best today, at times we were okay - we did test Leeds, but not often enough.
“We’re heading into a new competition, we’re 160 minutes of hard work and total concentration from reaching a Grand Final.”
Wigan led 6-4 at half-time but fell away afterwards, leaking three tries and struggling to conjure anything in reply. In their last seven defeats, Sean O’Loughlin has been absent and they again sorely lacked the injured skipper’s guile.
“Any team would miss Lockers,” Wane said. “But he’s injured, he’s not going to be back next week, we have to deal with it.
“I have to credit Leeds, they were outstanding. We competed and completed in the first half but we didn’t throw enough at them.
“But on our day we can be good, we’ve seen that this year, and my players are hurting.
“But I know everything is fixable, we’re at the top end of the league, we’ve won the cup, and now the pressure is on and we need to perform.”
Victory saw the Rhinos leapfrog Wigan into third spot.
Coach Brian McDermott, who has guided his side to back-to-back Grand Final victories from fifth position, said: “We’ll give it our best shot. This performance puts us in good stead.
“For the last two years we’ve done something special but this season, we’ve been good for the majority of the year. I know it seems like we’ve only just woken up, but it’s not been like that.”
Leeds face Warrington next Saturday.