Gary Roberts admits Wigan Athletic were fuelled by a fear of failure of dropping back to the ‘small’ time in League One at the end of last term.
Latics left it late before securing their Championship status, finishing the campaign 12 points clear of the drop zone.
But things were hanging in the balance as late as Easter, and Roberts says the desire to remain in the big time played its part in their late flourish.
“No disrespect intended, but we didn’t want to go back to the Rochdales and other small grounds in League One,” he told the Wigan Post.
“We played at Leeds at the end of the season, the atmosphere was absolutely top drawer, and that’s the kind of arena you want to be playing in.
“And I know the fans are the same, they’ve loved going to big grounds this year for the big games. We deserved to win the league last year, and I think we deserved to stay up this year.”
Wigan’s struggle in the second half of the campaign was in stark contrast to a cracking start that saw them third in the table at the end of September.
“To be fair we never felt we deserved to be down there, but the reality was we were,” Roberts acknowledged.
“I still feel we left a lot of points out there – so many times we felt hard done by, bad luck, bad decisions, mistakes.
"But in the end you have to knuckle down and get yourself out of it.
“I wasn’t ever worried, but the Championship is so tough and can bite you on the backside at any time.”