SHAUN Wane described Wigan’s nervy win against Salford as “life or death”.
The Warriors coach was not too concerned by the scrappy nature of the 19-12 victory and praised his players for claiming the two points on their return to the DW Stadium after six weeks on the road.
Wigan were 6-0 down at the break and, while Wane admitted he “freaked out” at half-time, he was ultimately pleased with the final outcome.
“That was a must-win, I wasn’t bothered about good or bad, I wanted to win the game,” he said.
“It was two points, and I said that to the players, that was non-negotiable, it was a life or death win. And that’s why I was so animated at half-time!
“We did things in the first-half we don’t normally do, but the way they responded way superb.”
Salford led 6-0 at half-time and Wane believes his players need to learn a lesson from the narrow win, which cuts the gap on leaders St Helens to a single point.
“We need to learn that teams want our scalp. Teams turn up here,” he said. “But we weren’t at our best and still got the win, I’m sure we’d have lost at the start of the year, and we’ve got the toughness to grind out wins now.”
Warriors only took the lead for the first time in the 71st minute, when Dan Sarginson pounced on Micky McIlorum’s stabbed kick into the ingoal, and referee Joe Cobb ruled he grounded the ball.
Salford coach Iestyn Harris - Wane’s former assistant - labelled the decision “harsh”, saying the ingoal-judge signalled a drop-out.
But Wane said it was a “dead-set” try and described Harris’ remark as “a cop-out.”
“I’m amazed at that comment,” he added, hinting at the frictions between the two.
Salford deservedly led 6-0 at the break and doubled their advantage early in the second-half, before Wigan began their fightback through a try from Joe Burgess - his 19th of the Super League campaign.
The Sydney Roosters-bound winger then provided the kick for Liam Farrell to touch down to lock the scores, before Sarginson’s late intervention.
Welsh prop Ben Flower was forced out of the action with a knock to the head, but Wane says it was a precaution.
Red Devils coach Harris said: “We defended well and Wigan threw a lot at us, we repelled a lot. We need to improve with the ball but the attitude of the players was spot on.”
Warriors have no game next weekend, due to the Challenge Cup fixtures.