GARY Caldwell reckoned Wigan Athletic’s 2-0 victory at Sheffield United was ‘the best of the season’.
Latics blew two points in the corresponding fixture at the DW last month, having led 3-0 at the three-quarter mark.
But once Will Grigg and Conor McAleny had scored in a three-minute purple patch at the start of the second period at Bramall Lane, there was only one outcome.
The visitors could even afford Grigg to miss a second penalty with 16 minutes to go, such was their overall dominance in a display that left their manager purring.
“The way we did it - the professionalism, the control, the understanding of the game - showed we are a good football team,” acknowledged Caldwell.
“We can play good possession football, and once we get in front we’re a real threat on the counter.
“Everything about the game I was happy with.
“There was obviously some areas that we can improve and we will improve.
“But in terms of the overall performance - attacking and defensively - I thought it was the best of the season.”
Not even Grigg’s missed penalty could take any gloss off a great day for Latics, who are now up to third in League One.
“If we’d scored again at that time, the scoreline could have ended up anything,” the Scot recognised.
“We were in total control at that point.
“The goalkeeper made a fine save, but you can’t fault Will’s performance.
“He was up front on his own, didn’t get as much support as he has in recent games, but he showed what a top player he is.”
With results elsewhere going their way, Latics are now just a point off the automatic promotion places with 16 games to go.
Not that Caldwell is placing too much emphasis on that at this point in the campaign.
“I’ve always said that the league table only matters on May 8,” he added.
“We don’t look at league tables and we don’t look at other results before then.
“I’m only concerned with our performances, and I was delighted with what I saw - while knowing we can improve as well.
“Any time we’ve lost a game this season, or even drawn, we’ve learned from the mistakes we’ve made.
“That’s a testament to the players, who are taking the things that we’re telling them on board.
“They’re understanding what it’s all about, and they’re becoming better for it.”