Plymouth boss Derek Adams reckons Wigan Athletic should be playing one if not two divisions higher, despite running the League One leaders close at Home Park.
The mid-table Pilgrims had gone into the game as the form team in the third tier, having won five and drawn three of their last eight games, and took an early lead through a Graham Carey penalty.
However, Will Grigg levelled within two minutes, and further strikes from Gavin Massey, right on half-time, and Dan Burn at the three-quarter mark sent Latics five points clear at the summit.
“I thought it was a good game,” assessed Adams. “There was a lot of good football between two very good sides.
“We started the game very, grew into, and we scored obviously off the penalty kick.
“That gave us the start we probably deserved.
“Quickly after that, we lose a really poor goal. It goes through a lot of bodies and into the goal.
“To lose a goal so quickly; that was hard to take.
“We definitely shouldn’t have been losing the game at half-time. We had been the better side.
“When they score the goal, they get a bit of confidence to make it 2-1 and, at half-time, they’re relieved.
“What they’re very good at is finding the next pass, and then the next pass, and they score.
“From that point of view, it was difficult after that. But over the 90 minutes, it was a very good performance.
“In the second half, we were the team pushing forward for that goal.
“They score the own goal to make it 3-1, and after that it was going to be difficult.”
Adams has previous with his opposite number stemming from Cook’s recent tenure at Portsmouth, but the two men were on their best behaviour on the touchline.
“I spoke to Paul after the game and he said it was one of the sternest tests this season, so that’s very complimentary for a team that are top of the league,” revealed Adams.
“We’ve got no problems. We spoke about the game, we spoke about the season as it is, and were both complimentary to both teams.
“He’s got a very good side and he was very complimentary about our team.
“We’ve got to compete against the teams that are everywhere in the league, but to compete as well as we did...I think we had more possession than Wigan, which will not happen very often in this league, because they’re a very good passing team.”
Adams also admitted Latics should be one or even two divisions higher, such is the quality at the club.
“They are not a League One side; they are a Championship or a Premier League side,” said Adams.
“They are in this division because of factors that were sometimes out of their control.
“Them and Blackburn are the best teams we have played this season.
“Eighteen games to go, the way they have performed. I would be hugely surprised if they are not in the top two.”