Paul Cook admitted Wigan Athletic’s 3-1 victory at Plymouth flattered the visitors - but welcomed the five-point lead his men now have at the top of League One.
Latics had to come from behind to see off the Pilgrims, who led through Graham Carey’s 27th-minute penalty.
Will Grigg equalised within two minutes, before Gavin Massey put Latics ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Latics then had to withstand some serious Plymouth pressure before Dan Burn made it 3-1 midway through the second period.
And Cook acknowledged the victory was more down to grit and determination rather than the quality he side have shown so often this term.
“It was a very difficult game and an excellent win for us,” Cook recognised.
“We couldn’t dominate the ball like we normally do, and play in the opposition’s half.
“We got the second goal at such a crucial time, on half-time, because we weren’t the better side at that point.
“Make no mistake, Plymouth caused us plenty of problems, and the third goal was a hammer blow for them - they definitely didn’t deserve that.
“But that’s football. We’ve had a few 0-0s at home where we’ve hot the bar and done everything but score, and some of the fans get disgruntled.
“It’s a 46-game campaign, and if we can keep drawing 0-0 at home and winning this this away we will be fine.”
Wigan’s win took on even greater significance with news filtering through of Shrewsbury blowing a 2-0 lead to only draw with Donncaster.
The Shrews have now been replaced in second spot - on goal difference - by Blackburn, who won at Fleetwood by the odd goal in three.
“We’ve got 19 league games left now, and it’s repetition, it’s belief, just keep going,” Cook insisted.
“As I keep saying, disappointment is never far away, and when they took the lead with the penalty it felt like it might be one of those days.
“Great credit to the lads that it wasn’t.
“I’m sure a few people would have looked at this fixture after the FA Cup tie in midweek and thought we might come unstuck - but we didn’t.”
Cook also revealed the reason behind the half-time substitution of Grigg, who’d managed to get on the scoresheet despite playing with his right thigh bandaged.
“Will was sick overnight, and we had a good chat on Saturday morning,” Cook added.
“The physio didn’t want him to play, but he’s in such a good vein of form, he wanted to play.
“As a manager, I thought he looked slightly off it in the first half, so we took him off at half-time.
“Fortunately we’ve got quality in James Vaughan to bring on, and it gives Will chance to rest up for next week.”