Paul Cook admitted star-man Nick Powell deserved the plaudits from Wigan Athletic’s 1-0 win over Bristol City at the DW Stadium on Friday night.
But the boss said the clash also brought out an unfamiliar side in his team as they had to hold on for the points which lifted them to third in the Championship, at least until later this afternoon.
Powell marked his 100th league appearance for Latics with the winner early in the second half, and Cook was happy to praise the match-winner in a game in which he said little separated the sides.
“That one little bit of magic, a great header, ends up being the difference,” said Cook.
“He’s doing really well. He’ll take a lot of the plaudits tonight and rightly so, he’s in a good place at the minute with his football.
“Tonight we had to show a side of our game which we’re not renowned for, which is digging in, defending well and being very gritty and the players showed that in spades.
“Tonight for me was a game that probably had a draw written all over it, there was nothing between the teams, they probably both cancelled each other out.”
Cook also admitted getting the result was more in focus than putting in a good performance.
“As a manager you want to play well, because a lot of managers believe, myself being one of them, that if you play well you win games,” he explained.
“Tonight we had to dig it out a little bit and the substitutions we made were probably all negative substitutions due to the players we had available and the team at the end was more about trying to dig in and see the result out.”
After last weekend’s loss at Brentford, Cook’s side have responded with two home wins this week in four days, and the boss says they will enjoy their current position while being mindful of what lies ahead.
“I’m delighted,” he said.
“Form when we were traveling back from Brentford to where we are now, it’s a fantastic feeling for the players, the staff, and everyone.
“As a newly-promoted team it’s great, but you're nine games in.It’s a tough league and it’s an unforgiving league. Disappointment never too far away so we won’t be getting ahead of ourselves.”