Shaun Wane admits Wigan are champing at the bit to get at Leeds tonight – and exorcise the demons of the ‘shocker’ of a performance against Warrington last week.
Warriors saw their recent resurgence halted by a 16-10 home defeat at the hands of the struggling Wolves, which cranks up the pressure ahead of tonight’s visit of the high-flying Rhinos.
History tells me this is when we’re at our best...when people are writing us offShaun Wane
The margin for error if Wigan are to make the top-four has become even more tight – but Wane is confident that will bring out the best in his wounded Warriors, who he knows let themselves down last week.
“That standard was that far off,” Wane snapped. “The review was a shocker. The players agreed.
“I know the week before was a tough one (the trip to Catalans) – but we don’t give excuses.
“I’ve been saying for weeks and weeks that once we get a steady team, you’ll see some performances, and we did – but the second-half we dipped below.
“It was heart-breaking, because they wanted it more.
“They’ve had a few days to fix it and then we can all be friends again.”
Wigan are now frive points adrift of the top four ahead of the final game of the regular season, before the Super-8s come into play.
“It will make it a damn sight easier if we win,” Wane acknowledged.
“The loss to Warrington has put more pressure on this game.
“But history tells me this is when we’re at our best...when people are writing us off.
“We need to make sure we bounce back and have a dig.
“Regardless of the result, we have too much character and toughness in the team.”
Tonight’s game is so important Wane insists no-one has even given next week’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Salford.
“We’re not even thinking about Salford,” said Wane.
“We’re trying to do best to win a massively important game against a team flying.
“Leeds are playing very well, and we have to be really good...we have to win it.
“My players respond to pressure, and they’re under pressure, I’m under pressure.
“We need to turn up and give an 80-minute performance.
“Wigan people understand the circumstances of this season and why we’re at the bottom of the (top) eight.
“But we’re getting some continuous team selection and we dipped below that standard.
“We will get back on the horse.”
Tonight’s game kicks-off at 8pm and is live on Sky Sports.