GARY Caldwell hailed Andy Kellett - and assistant boss Graham Barrow - after Wigan Athletic recorded a welcome first win in five matches at Barnsley.
A goal in either half from Kellett and Yanic Wildschut ensured Latics kicked off their festive programme in fine style.
Kellett, a left-back by trade, celebrated his first league start with a man-of-the-match display in an unaccustomed position in the centre of midfield.
And the Latics manager lifted the lid on how the 22-year-old summer signing from Bolton came to become the hero of the hour.
“We worked on a lot of attacking plays in training this week, to try to change the shape of the attack,” revealed Caldwell.
“Graham Barrow had mentioned playing Andy further forward, and seeing how he went in that role.
“He’s so quick with the ball at his feet, he’s got such a low centre of gravity, he can be so effective.
“He popped up with a good finish in the first half, and could have added another in the second half.
“Once he gets stronger and plays more games, it’s definitely a position he can play in and cause teams a lot of problems.
“It shows the versatility we have in the squad, and shows they can take information on and apply it on a match day.”
It was the perfect way to avenge Barnsley’s shock JPT triumph at the DW a fortnight ago.
Indeed, from the very first minute, Latics were on their game and determined to redress the balance.
“We took a lot of motivation out of the JPT game,” Caldwell recognised.
“They deserved to win on the day. They played with a game-plan, they scored two goals at our home and good luck to them.
“But there were actions during that game that fired up the boys.
“They were hungry today - hungry in tackles, hungry on the ball, they moved it around quickly and they showed their quality.
“I told the boys I wanted them to play with their heads, and I thought we did that.
“After the run of results we’ve had, the pressure was really on us coming here, against a team in good form.
“To come and play we did, and win in the manner we did, was very impressive.
“Every team goes through sticky spells in a long season, and we’ve been through ours.
“We showed a lot of quality on the ball in the first half and a lot of fighting qualities in the second half, and won it pretty comfortably in the end.”
Captain Craig Morgan’s return to the side helped to add composure to the backline, with Donervon Daniels and Jason Pearce also impressing to keep the home side at bay.
“When we had to defend, the back three were sensational,” Caldwell gushed.
“The captain, coming back in, helped us, but the whole backline put their bodies on the line at the moments we had to.
“When the ball came into our box they headed it, they kicked it away and helped to produce a great team performance, which is big for our confidence and something to build on.”
Wigan’s strength in depth was showed when they were able to send on Wildschut for the last six minutes, and the Dutchman was on hand to despatch number two within a couple of minutes of his introduction.
“We knew we had Yanic in reserve with his pace, for when the game got stretched,” Caldwell added.
“We put him on at just the right time, he gets on the end of a flick-on and kills the game off with the second goal.”