Graham Barrow admitted Wigan Athletic’s last-gasp 3-2 victory over Rotherham had left him ‘psychologically drained’.
But the Latics interim boss says everyone at the club remains firmly focused on doing everything they can to pull off surely the greatest of all Great Escapes.
Nick Powell’s 96th-minute goal broke the hearts of Rotherham, who had led twice through Danny Ward and Anthony Forde.
After Gabriel Obertan and Alex Gilbey had dragged Latics back on level terms, Powell popped up right at the death with a driven free-kick that goalkeeper Lewis Price never saw.
“Psychologically, I’m drained,” said Barrow, with a mixture of a smile and a grimace.
“But we’ve given ourselves something to go at.
“We’ve convinced ourselves we can win a game, we can score three goals.
“We’ve not scored a goal in 50 per cent of the games we’ve played, and I just think the players can feel good about themselves.
“I’ve never stopped believing once this season.
“I’ve tried to motivate the players as best I can, and we’ve played positive football in three of the four matches.
“We played a lot more football in the second half when the game became stretched, and that’s the ability we’ve got.”
Latics had to ride their luck at times, with Rotherham squandering gilt-edged opportunities to score a third goal well before Powell entered the fray off the bench.
“The aim was obviously to win the game, and to do that we had to go on the front foot,” Barrow acknowledged.
“I don’t think anyone could accuse us of being negative about the team we put out on the pitch.
“There were three offensive players at the top end of the pitch, offensive players in midfield and offensive players at full-back.
“That’s possibly why we got caught out with their goals on the breakaway, but that’s the position we’re in - we have to gamble.
“It’s not the position I’d like to be in, but it’s the position we’re in.
“Whenever we’re level or behind, it’s no good. We have to win every game.”
The scenes of jubilation at the end were reminiscent of the Premier League era, when Latics pulled off several last-gasp heroics to extend their top-flight status.
For Barrow, who shared in those experiences as part of Roberto Martinez’s backroom staff, it was a welcome trip down memory lane.
“I try and keep my emotions under control, but it’s a great win for the club and it keeps things alive,” he recognised.
“I didn’t think we were ever going to lose the game, although I suppose it was a looking a bit tight as to whether we were going to win it.
“The players responded very well in very difficult circumstances, and they showed a lot more character than they’ve done in previous performances.
“All I was looking for us to do was for us to win the game.
“I think we all have to be honest with each other as to the hand I’ve been dealt.
“I’m not complaining about anything, but I do know the hand I’ve been dealt has not made it easy to compete in this league.
“Nothing against the players, or what the club are doing, but I haven’t got Aston Villa’s squad, or Newcastle’s squad.
“What I have got is an honest bunch of lads, and there is ability in there.
“This place is full of professional sportsmen who are bad losers.
“Some of the staff have played at the highest level - they’re bad losers.
“It’s hard for ourselves, to pick ourselves up, when we’re losing games.
“But we have to pick the players up, and the mood changes very quickly when you win football matches.”